Abu Dhabi: Two prominent ships of the Indian Navy are taking part in the maiden UAE-India bilateral exercise named ‘Gulf Star 1’, which is taking place off the coast of Abu Dhabi from Saturday to Thursday (March 17 to 22), according to the Indian Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
INS Gomati (Guided Missile Frigate) and INS Kolkata (Guided Missile Destroyer) are participating in the exercise, which is part of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and will further strengthen defence cooperation between India and the UAE, said a press release issued by the embassy on Sunday.
The ships arrived at Port Zayed in Abu Dhabi on Saturday for the harbour phase of the exercise and will participate with the UAE Navy’s ships for the sea phase from Tuesday.
After visiting the ships in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Navdeep Singh Suri, the Indian Ambassador to the UAE, expressed his delight about the first-ever bilateral exercises. “The INS Kolkata and the INS Gomati have formidable capabilities and the time that they spend with the friendly naval forces of the UAE will establish a strong platform for us to advance our shared maritime security objectives in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean,” he said.
The current visit is a part of the understanding reached at highest level between the leadership of the two countries, which aims at furthering cooperation in defence through regular high-level visits, training programmes, joint exercises, participation in defence exhibitions and ship visits/port calls.
India and the UAE also have an agreement on defence cooperation renewed in 2014, which provides a general framework for strengthening bilateral defence ties.
Both, INS Gomati (commissioned on 16 April 1988) and INS Kolkata (commissioned on 16 August 2014) have been built at Mazgaon Docks Limited in Mumbai and are representatives of India’s capability to construct state-of-the-art indigenous warships capable of undertaking proactive, coordinated combat operations for safeguarding India’s maritime interests.
Both the ships are based at Mumbai as a part of the Western Fleet, under the administrative and operational control of the Western Naval Command. INS Gomati is being commanded by Captain Ravi Kumar Dhingra and INS Kolkata is being commanded by Captain Susheel Menon.