December 17, 2012 (TSR) – India is seeking to enhance maritime relations with Saudi Arabia and is making efforts to maintain security in the high seas, says Indian Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao.
Hamid Ali Rao said India and Saudi Arabia share the strategic Arabian Sea where navies from both countries have a greater role to play.
He said that Saudi Arabian Royal Navy ships HMS Dammam and HMS Yanbu had paid goodwill visit to India in the past and Indian Navy ships Tir, Shardul and Veera visited Saudi Arabian ports on goodwill missions to strengthen ties between the two countries.
Addressing a press conference at newly commissioned Indian Navy warship Tarkash that docked at Jeddah Islamic seaport on Saturday, the ambassador said India and Saudi Arabia have common interest in ensuring security, stability and freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean region including all adjoining seas. He felt closer interaction between both navies would enhance security relations.
“The Tarkash is sophisticated and an important component of the Indian Navy,” Commanding officer of the ship Capt Antony George was quoted by Arab News as saying.
He said the ship is a guided-missile frigate and packed with a high density of weapons and sensors that was built in Kaliningrad, Russia and commissioned on Nov. 9, 2012.
Manned by a highly motivated crew of 253 personnel, the ship also carries a judicious mix of state-of-the-art Russian and Indian system equipped to deal with multiple threats. He further explained that all weapons and sensors are fully integrated with the combat management system..
Capt. Antony said that it is one of the most potent platforms of the Indian Navy. It carries cutting-edge modern weaponry which includes surface-to-air missiles, supersonic BrahMos anti-ship missiles, upgraded 100MM medium-range gun, an optically controlled 30MM close-in weapon system, anti-submarine and anti-ship torpedoes and also rocket launchers. It has two helicopter bases.
The ship is capable of operating both the air early-warning helicopter and anti-submarine warfare helicopter. It also has surveillance radar and digital data link that enable aircraft act as force multiplier, he says.
India currently deploys an exclusive ship to combat and patrol piracy in Indian Ocean area and if required the Tarkash also can be deployed.
Capt Antony George said that the ship after delivery and commission, passed through Celtic Sea, the United Kingdom, Spain, Port Said in Egypt and then through Suez Canal it embarked for Red Sea.
It docked at Jeddah Islamic Port on Friday from where it will cross the Gulf of Aden. On way to Mumbai, it will pay a visit to Salalah port in Oman.
He said that the ship after delivery and commission, passed through Celtic Sea, the United Kingdom, Spain, Port Said in Egypt and then through Suez Canal it embarked for Red Sea. From there, it will cross the Gulf of Aden. On way to Mumbai, it will pay a visit to Salalah port in Oman.
Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmed Kidwai and Military Attach of Indian Embassy in Riyadh Col. Ajay Kumar were also present at the press conference. Select Indian nationals visited the ship yesterday. They were joined by prominent community members and cadets of the Saudi Royal Navy for a reception on board.