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Two Indian Navy ships to participate in PLA Navy's 70th anniversary

Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata

NEW DELHI (PTI): Two Indian Navy ships will participate in an international maritime parade off the coast of Qingdao in China next week, marking the 70th anniversary of founding of the Chinese Navy.

Indian Navy ships – INS Kolkata and INS Shakti – will arrive in Qingdao on Sunday to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR), Navy Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to witness the IFR on April 23.

China's defence spokesman Col Wu Qian said last month that over 60 countries would join the commemorative event on April 23.

IFR is a parade of naval ships, aircraft and submarines, and is organised by nations to promote goodwill, strengthen cooperation and showcase their naval capabilities.

India had organised an IFR off Visakhapatnam in February 2016 which saw participation of nearly 100 warships from 50 countries.

INS Kolkata is an indigenously built stealth guided missile destroyer equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and sensors to address threats in all dimensions of naval warfare. INS Shakti is a fleet support ship.

A military official said it will be for the first time that Indian warships would be visiting China after the Doklam standoff.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 1, 2017 after the Indian side stopped the building of a road by Chinese Army in a disputed tri-junction in Doklam. The face-off ended on August 28, 2017.

Since then, both countries have taken a series of initiatives to move forward, leaving behind the bitter episode.

In April last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Xi held an informal summit in Chinese city of Wuhan, resolving to open a new chapter in ties, and directed their militaries to boost coordination along the nearly 3,500 km Sino-India border.

"The visit of Indian Navy's most potent destroyer and versatile fleet support ship showcases India's prowess, reach and sustainability in addition to indigenous ship building capability," Capt. D K Sharma said.

He said the harbour stay of the two ships will be marked by interaction between personnel of participating navies, courtesy and government officials, professional exchanges and various sporting events.

"Ships will be opened for visits by PLA (Navy) personnel and local populace to showcase Indian Navy's prowess and India's ship building capability," Capt. Sharma added.

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