Muscat: India’s navy is ready to help train Omani sailors, a visiting admiral pledged.
“We are always open to requests from Oman to train its sailors in different areas, depending on the facilities we have,” Rear Admiral Ravneet Singh, the Flag Officer Commanding Indian Navy’s Western Fleet, told Times of Oman.
According to Singh, some 150 Omani sailors are trained by India every year.
“We have provided training for Omani sailors in gunnery, navigation and mechanical engineering, hydrography, diving, training management, logistics management and dockyard management, to mention just a few,” Singh added.
Three Indian naval ships, Deepak, Tarkash and Delhi, under the command of Singh, arrived in Muscat on Saturday.
The ships are part of the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command, based at Mumbai, and are on a month-long deployment in the region, in a bid to improve bilateral ties with friendly regional navies.
Indra Mani Pandey, the Indian ambassador to Oman, said that the visit of the Indian naval ships to the Gulf region, including Muscat, underscores India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries in the Gulf region, and strengthens the bonds of friendship between India and Oman.
“The Indian Navy plays a vital role in combating piracy and terrorism, in addition to providing humanitarian assistance in
the region,” the Indian ambassador added.
INS Tarkash was sent to Yemen to evacuate 7,000 stranded people when civil war broke out. “We were able to evacuate people, Indians and other nationals, when the civil war broke out in the country,” INS Tarksh Captain Pradeep Singh said.
Additionally, Pradeep Singh said that there have been no piracy incidents reported in the region, and if the situation continues, India might consider reducing the frequency of their patrols.
The Indian Navy has close and friendly ties with the navies of the Gulf region, and has been regularly conducting exercises with many of them. It has also been providing training and hydrographic support to several navies in the region.
The involvement of Indian naval ships in combating piracy off the coast of Somalia, since October 2008, has further strengthened bilateral ties and interactions with navies in the region.
Bilateral relations between India and Oman were formally established with the signing of the 1953 Indo-Oman Treaty of Friendship, Navigation and Commerce.
Later, the MoU on Defence Cooperation, signed in December 2005, provided the framework for defence cooperation between the two countries.
India and Oman are also members of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary and co-operative initiative among 35 countries of the Indian Ocean Region, which has served as a forum for sharing information and promoting cooperation on maritime issues.
The Indian ambassador also said that the India-Oman Joint Military Cooperation Committee, set up in 2006, has been providing direction for increased defence cooperation.
“The biennial naval exercise ‘Naseem Al-Bahr’ has enhanced inter-operability between the two navies. The last joint naval exercise, off the Indian coast in February 2016, was a great success,” the ambassador added.