Wednesday, September 11, 2013
India has dispatched its new stealth frigate INS Sahyadri to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) at Sydney early next month, as part of the growing military ties with Australia.
With defence minister AK Antony and Army chief General Bikram Singh both visiting Australia in recent months, the two countries have decided to implement a slew of bilateral defence cooperation initiatives ranging from stepped up military exchanges and regular defence dialogues to maritime security and a joint naval combat exercise in 2015.
The two nations are also discussing a safeguards agreement to facilitate supply of Australian uranium – the country has nearly 40% of global reserves – to Indian civil nuclear plants. Over 40 warships and 16 tall ships from 19 countries will be taking part in the IFR to be held around the Sydney harbour from October 3 to 11. The 6,100-tonne INS Sahyadri, the last of the three Shivalik-class frigates built by Mazagon Docks in Mumbai, will showcase India’s indigenous capabilities in building frontline warships.
The Shivalik-class frigates, packed with sensors, weapons and missile systems, get their stealthy nature from their vastly-reduced ”radar, infra-red, noise, frequency and magnetic signatures” designed to beat enemy detection systems. “INS Sahyadri has set sail from Port Blair for the almost 20-day journey to Australia,” said an official.
During his visit to Australia on June 4 and 5, Antony had also agreed with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith to continue to contribute to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and to promote cooperation in the Indian Ocean region (IOR).
While both nations are concerned about China’s expanding military might and its growing naval forays into the IOR, they have declared their opposition to any multi-lateral strategic construct or axis in the Asia-Pacific which might be seen as a move to contain” Beijing.