An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 28 February 2005

The Indian Navy is proving to be the most forward looking force amongst the three services in extending India’s power and diplomacy abroad, as seen from the exercises tabled below. The Navy is also cruising all over the Indian Ocean and exercising in the middle and far eastern seas and off Cochin simultaneously. This is quite an achievement made possible no doubt because of the India–Pak détente.

The media reported that China had made some mild protests –– but the Laws of the Sea are clear and as long we do not transgress territorial waters and the passages are peaceful the seas are free to all. We congratulate the IN for looking out despite a meagre budget and low revenue expenditure and hope that the Nation and the Government appreciate that.

The Army needs to learn from the Navy that large revenue expenditure can cripple them –– they have just announced a new Army Command at Jaipur and possibly a new Corps. We wonder if that is wise?

We also append a file picture of a Chinese Navy missile firing which looks quite impressive and at the same time highlight that the Type 15 A Frigates under construction at Mazagon Dock will have 16 Brahmos Vertical Launch Missiles. We wish them God Speed.

The Navy has been steadily increasing its cruises abroad and its exercise programmes with foreign navies to enhance its blue water capability. Recently training ship INS Krishna visited Jakarta and Bandar Abbas as part of the training cruise for cadets. Guided missile frigate INS Brahmaputra and a missile corvette proceeded to UAE and Oman in Feb. The ships are scheduled to exercise with the Royal Oman Navy. The Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Arun Prakash handed over Fast Attack Craft INS Taramugli to Seychelles on 23 Feb at Port Victoria, India having earlier handed over ships to Mauritius and Sri Lanka indicating its interests to support the littoral, as per its maritime doctrine.

Exercise Simbex With Singapore Navy

The Indian Navy (IN) and the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) will conduct the annual IN–RSN Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX 2005) in the South China Sea from 24 Feb 05 to 05 Mar 05. The Navy’s Eastern Fleet comprising the indigenously built frigate Gomati, Kashin class destroyers Rajput and Ranvijay, fleet tanker INS Jyoti and corvettes INS Kora and INS Karmuk would be visiting Singapore for SIMBEX 2005. The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF) Rear Admiral SK Damle AVSM, NM, VSM would be the senior Indian Naval officer attending the opening and closing ceremonies for SIMBEX 2005 at Singapore. The RSN Fleet Commander Col Chew Men Leong would be the senior RSN officer during the exercise. This exercise is seventh in the series of bilateral exercises between the two navies.

The missile corvettes RSS Valiant, RSS Vengeance, ASW patrol vessel RSS Dauntless, the missile gunboat RSS Sea Dragon and the submarine RSS Chieftain. RSN and RSAF aircraft will represent the RSN and take part in the exercise. This will be the first time that this exercise is brind conducted in the South China Sea. Previous exercises were conducted in Indian waters.

The harbour phase of the exercise includes training and professional discussions between the RSN and the IN. IN personnel will also visit shore establishments such as the PV Combat Simulation Centre and Automated Changi Naval Warehouse. Apart from this, the ships’ crew will take part in various sports and social activities.

The annual IN–RSN bilateral exercise is a valuable opportunity for the IN and the RSN to interact professionally. The exercise has grown in scope and complexity over the years and has helped foster closer relations, mutual understanding and goodwill between the two navies.

Three warships from the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet will also call at Kuantan Port in Pahang from February 28 to March 3. The Indian High Commission said in a statement that INS Jyoti, INS Karmuk and INS Rajput will host visitors onboard on March 2 from 3.30pm to 6pm. It said Eastern Fleet Commander Real Admiral Sunil K. Damle will lead the contingent of seamen. INS Jyoti (21,585 tonnes, length 178.96 metres), is the largest Indian Fleet replenishment tanker and capable of carrying and transferring of all types of liquid cargo to other fleet ships. The Rajput, (5,000 tonnes, 146.2 metres), is the first of the five Kashin II class guided missile destroyers and forms the backbone of the Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam. As for Karmuk, the statement said her state-of-the art weapons and sensors suite makes her one of the most potent corvettes anywhere in the world.

VARUNA 2005 –– Focus On Mine Counter Measures

The Indian and French navies will conduct a bilateral exercise VARUNA 2005/1 off Kochi from 27 Feb to 07 Mar. The Indian Navy and French Navy regularly conduct the VARUNA series of bilateral exercises and VARUNA 2005/1 being conducted off Kochi is a part of this on going co-operation. This particular exercise would focus on mine countermeasures. The French Task Group is commanded by Captain Marechal and comprises of two mine hunting ships FNS Orion and FNS Aigle along with one mine warfare command ship FNS Loire. The Indian mine countermeasure ships INS Kozhikode, Cannanore and Cuddalore represent the Indian side. The exercise will also include the deployment of underwater combined explosive ordnance disposal teams comprising of divers from both the navies.

Recent developments in the Persian Gulf have demonstrated the relative ease with which mine warfare can be waged at sea and consequently the threat it imposes to merchant shipping. VARUNA 2005/1 is the first mine warfare exercise being conducted between the French and the Indian navies. During this interaction extensive mine countermeasures and diving exercises would be practiced

The harbour phase of the exercise includes training and professional discussions between French and the Indian Navy personnel. The FN personnel will also visit Indian Navy's training establishments at Kochi. Apart from this, the crew of the visiting ships will take part in various sports and social activities.

The VARUNA series of exercises provides an opportunity for the Indian and French navies to interact professionally in various spheres of maritime warfare. Twelve exercises have been conducted since 1998. The last VARUNA exercise was held off Goa in April 2004 and focused on Anti Air and Anti Submarine Warfare. The VARUNA series has grown in scope and complexity over the years and has helped foster closer relations and mutual understanding between the two navies.

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