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INS Sudarshini sails off for ASEAN Expedition

ASEAN expedition of INS Sudarshini after being flagged off by Admiral DK Joshi, Chief of the Naval Staff at Southern Naval Command in Kochi on Saturday. A PTI Photo

KOCHI (PTI): INS Sudarshini, India's second sail training ship, has embarked on a six month historic ASEAN voyage from Kochi, after being flagged off by Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi.

The voyage commemorates 20 years of dialogue partnership and 10 years of summit level partnership with ASEAN countries.

An ASEAN car rally is also scheduled later this year to commemorate this milestone in relations.

Describing the voyage as a 'proud' moment, Admiral Joshi, who recently took over as Naval chief, said because of such voyages, there will be bonhomie and camaraderie between navies.

This voyage also retraces the path of our ancestors which impacted the destinies of nations in the region, he said.

Admiral Joshi expressed pride at the fact that cultural, economic and diplomatic linkages across the Indian Ocean are once again being reinforced through such maritime endeavours.

Describing Sudarshini as India's "Ambassador at Large" furthering the common vision of peace and prosperity, he said, "such expeditions will bring our communities together".

During the course of the 12,000 mile expedition by INS Sudarshini, the ship will call on 13 ports in 9 countries in South East Asia.

The cultural, religious and trade relations between India and South East Asia date back to 13th century BC. Indian seafarers have been using monsoon winds for maritime trade with the region even before the discovery of the route by Hippalus in 45-47 AD.

The vessel, flagged off from the Kochi Naval Base, has embarked on the voyage to trace this ancient trade route and highlight India's maritime linkages with South East Asia.

INS Sudarshini, a three masted barque, is part of the First Training squadron of the Southern Naval Command and is commanded by Commander N Shyamsunder.

She has a crew of 31 in addition to 30 cadets who will learn the ropes of life at sea during the voyage.

Former Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran, Co-Chair of the ASEAN Indian Eminent Persons Group, said Sudarshini's voyage would trace the civilisational and historical links between India and South East Asia.

But more significantly, it would also mark the contemporary maritime linkages of trade and technology, which are today contributing to the human resource development and the economic growth of India and ASEAN countries, he said.

The ship will visit the ports of Padang, Bali, Manado (Indonesia), Port Muara (Brunei), Cebu, Manila (Philippines), Da Nang (Vietnam), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Bangkok and Phuket (Thailand), Singapore, Port Klang (Malaysia) and Sittwe (Myanmar).

International trainees are also expected to be embarked on board in different legs of the voyage, a collaborative venture of Ministries of Defence and External Affairs, from ASEAN countries to strengthen Navy-to-Navy ties.

The ship will return to Kochi on March 29 next year.

Earlier, Admiral D K Joshi was presented a Guard of Honour by Southern Naval Command on his arrival.

The flag off was marked by a Naval helicopters flypast and ceremonious were escorted by a traditional Kerala boat with drummers and sail boats.

PG Datin Paduka Masrainah Ahmad, members of the eminent persons group, Head of missions of the countries of ASEAN countries and other senior members of diplomatic corps and naval officers witnessed the event.


Indian Navy  Ship  ASEAN  

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