Saudi Gazette report
“WE are very happy to be in Jeddah. The Indian Navy and the Western Fleet deploys regularly to the various parts of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and beyond as part of our efforts to create opportunities and engage with friendly foreign countries.
“To that extent we are very happy and very pleased to be here in Jeddah and it gives us a chance to meet our counterparts from the Royal Saudi Navy force, to get to know them and to have professional interactions with them,” said Rear Admiral R. B. Pandit, flag officer commanding western fleet (FOCWF) — who is heading this task group, on board the INS Trishul, which is one of the three ships that is one a three-day visit to Jeddah.
“It is also a unique privilege for me, my officers and my men to be in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a very important country in the region. We deploy regularly because we are quite convinced that the well-being of nations lies in the maritime domain. And it is to ensure this that we join forces to ensure good order at sea.
“We would like to emphasize that in order to ensure good order at sea, we need to take a cooperative and collaborative approach, so that collectively we have security at sea in the maritime domain,” Pandit said.
As part of the Indian Navy’s overseas deployment to the West Coast of Africa and the Mediterranean Sea, three Indian warships INS Mumbai, INS Trishul and INS Aditya are in Jeddah on a 3-day visit. The visit is aimed at cooperation and understanding between important navies of the IOR.
Building on the rich and long-standing relations between Indian and Saudi Arabia, both nations encourage such visits. The current visit seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries of the Indian Ocean and, in particular, to strengthen the existing bonds between India and the Kingdom.
Ship visits by the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard are symbolic of India’s desire to enhance its cooperation with the Kingdom in matters of defense. The visit of these naval ships will assist in promoting understanding and furthering interoperability between the two Navies.
“We look forward to further these defense cooperation mechanisms,” said Pandit, adding, “Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region. In addition, the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with Hydrographic Survey, search and rescue and other such capacity building and capability-enhancement activities.”
Pandit said, “The current deployment into the Mediterranean will contribute towards the Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate interoperability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the sea.”
Saudi Arabia and India have embarked on a well charted journey towards enhancing bilateral ties in multifarious fields some of which include trade and business opportunities, infrastructure development, commerce, medical research, people to people exchanges in pursuit of cultural revelation, defense cooperation and military training.
The increased frequency of ship visits and the assistance provided by the Kingdom in facilitating these visits is noteworthy. Defense relations constitute a significant element of the two countries’ shared strategic vision for the region and the current visit is a testimony to the strong Indo-Saudi ties.
Earlier Ambassador Ahmad Javed welcomed a team of press people on board INS Trishul, where a press briefing was held.
He introduced the ships and the Indian Navy personnel as “one more in a series of exchanges that we have been witnessing in the recent past. The most important thing is that these exchanges (with Saudi Arabia) make our interaction and our engagement in the area of defense rise to a different level.”
“You may recall that one of the important game-changing agreement that was signed between India and Saudi Arabia, when the present Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman was the Crown Prince, and that was the cornerstone of our defense relationship. As a matter of fact when the relations was raised to the strategic level, this was one of the aspects to that and as a consequence to that we have these visits,” Javed said.
The visiting ships are part of the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command and are based in Mumbai. The task group is headed by Rear Admiral R. B. Pandit.
INS Mumbai is a Delhi Class Destroyer, which is fully equipped to undertake any military challenge in varied spectrum of operations. INS Trishul is a Talwar Class Frigate that can operate in a multi threat environment and has the capacity to handle threats in all dimensions and INS Aditya is the first indigenously built Combat Logistic Ship that facilitates furthering and sustenance of military operations.