New Delhi: In a major foray, the Indian Navy has dispatched a flotilla of three warships and a fleet tanker into the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, where they will conduct war games with the French, British, Russian and Germans navies.
During the four-month deployment, the three warships – guided missile destroyer INS Delhi, guide missile frigates INS Beas and INS Brahmaputra and fleet tanker and replenishment ship INS Aditya – will sail through the Arabian, Mediterranean and the Atlantic Oceans all the way up to the north Russian port of St Petersburg.
The flotilla will conduct passage exercises with most Gulf countries along the way.
All four ships have already set sail, with INS Beas departing the earliest, on 27 April, to carry out anti-piracy operations in the Gulf. The other three warships left Mumbai on 13 May.
They ships will eventually link up with British Royal Navy ships and conduct exercises off Portsmouth between 20 and 25 June. The flotilla will then conduct exercises with ships of the French Navy off the port of Brest from 30 June to 4 July.
Menawhile, guided missile frigate INS Brahmaputra has docked in the northern Israeli coastal city of Haifa arriving on a four-day goodwill visit. "The visit shows the importance India attaches to its relationship with Israel. Not only that, it is also fitted with the 'state of the art' Barak defence missile system as the first line of defence supplied by it", commander of the warship, Captain Philipose G Pynumootil, said while addressing a gathering on the ship.
"The enthusiasm clearly shows that the Indian ship is in friendly waters. It is not only in Israel but a part of it is also Israeli", India's Ambassador to Israel, Navtej Sarna, said referring to the Barak defence missile system on the warship.
Among those gathered to see the Indian ship was a former commander of the old INS Brahmaputra, Jack Japheth, who is now an Israeli citizen settled in Tel Aviv after retirement.
Dressed in Indian Navy uniform, the 93-year-old former naval officer drew huge applause from the audience when he sang a hit patriotic number from a Raj Kapoor film.
INS Brahmaputra arrived at Haifa from Eritrea and will leave for Naples on 2 June.
The frigate boasts of a versatile suite of long-range sensors, incorporating radars, sonars and electronic warfare equipment that enable her to simultaneously address threats in all three dimensions--surface, sub-surface and air. All this 'top of the line' ordnance adds up to an awesome collection of offensive and defensive fire power.
The ship has played a stellar role in many humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions including the tsunami relief operations in December 2004 and the Operation Sukoon during the Lebanon crisis in July 2006. During the Lebanon crisis, the ship as part of the Indian Naval Flotilla helped in evacuating over 2280 Indian and SAARC nationals.
INS Brahmaputra will subsequently sail all the way to St Petersburg to hold joint exercises with the Russian Navy from 3 to 7 June.
INS Beas, the Brahmaputra's sister ship similarly armed with state-of- the-art weapons, including the Barak anti-ship and aircraft missiles will hold joint naval exercises with the Russian navy.
The naval ship will arrive on a five-day goodwill visit to Russian port city of St Petersburg located on the Baltic Sea from 3 to 7 June.
St Petersburg (former Leningrad) has been the birthplace of most of the Indian naval Kilo class diesel-electric submarines and the latest Krivak-class stealth frigates, such as the INS Talwar.
Commanded by Capt SV Bhokare, INS Beas has 'long legs' and is capable of covering over 4,500 nautical miles without replenishment.
Packed with latest sensors able to engage air, sea surface and underwater targets INS Beas also carries 16 Russian 'URAN' surface-to-surfaces missiles with a range in excess of 130 km.