The Indian Navy has deployed its Eastern Fleet to the South China and North West Pacific for a period of two-and-half months in an attempt to demonstrate its commitment towards the Act East policy.
As part of this long operational deployment, the warships of the Eastern Fleet are scheduled to make port calls at Cam Rahn Bay in Vietnam, Subic Bay in the Philippines, Sasebo in Japan, Busan in South Korea, Vladivostok in Russia, and Port Klang of Malaysia.
The warships sailed out under the command of the Eastern Fleet flag officer, Commanding Rear Admiral SV Bhokare.
The ships that have been deployed include the indigenously built 6,200t Shivalik-class guided-missile stealth frigates INS Satpura and INS Sahyadr, which are equipped with supersonic anti-ship and land-attack cruise missiles; the 27,550t Deepak-class fleet tanker INS Shakti, which is a sophisticated surface warship; and the 1,350t Kora-class guided missile corvette INS Kirch, which is equipped with sub and super-sonic anti-air and anti-ship missiles.
INS Satpura and Sahyadri are commanded by Captain AN Pramod and Captain KS Rajkumar respectively; INS Shakti by Captain Gagan Kaushal; and INS Kirch by Sharad Sinsunwal.
The visits to each port have been scheduled for four days and are aimed at bolstering bilateral ties, as well as inter-operability between the navies.
In a press release, the Defence Ministry stated that the fleet will also carry out passing exercises (PASSEX) with other navies.
The operational deployment will end with the fleet’s participation in Exercise Malabar, a naval exercise held with the US Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Headquartered at Visakhapatnam in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, Eastern Naval Command’s Eastern Fleet has 60 vessels.