Last updated: Sunday, September 13, 2015 12:41 AM
Defense Attache at Indian Embassy Col. Gurºpal Singh (L) Chargè d'Affaires Hemant Kotalwal (R) with the ships' captains and a senior Saudi Navy officer on board INS Delhi during the reception Thursday night. — SG photo
ABOARD INS DELHI, Jubail — Indian Navy warships INS Delhi and INS Trishul docked at Jubail Port on Thursday for a four-day stay during which the ships undertook various professional interactions with their counterparts in the Royal Saudi Navy, including exercises at sea.
The visit will also include training and sports events between the two navies. This deployment would add another chapter to the cordial relations between India and Saudi Arabia while enhancing bilateral defense cooperation.
Addressing reporters on board, Defense Attache at the Embassy of India in Riyadh Col. Gurpal Singh said bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia were attaining new heights.
"Our bilateral engagements go far beyond our shared business or professional interests and are reflective of a greater merging of our civilizations, our shared cultural beliefs and of the highest social values," he said.
Singh was accompanied by the ships’ commanders Capt. Kartik Krishnan and Capt. Manish Misra at the press briefing.
Defense relations constitute a significant element of "our shared strategic vision with Saudi Arabia and the current visit by these two fine Indian Navy ships is a testimony to our strong ties," the officers said.
The defense ties received a major fillip in February 2014, during the visit of the then Crown Prince and now Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman to New Delhi where the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on defense cooperation. The MOU has subsequently been validated by both sides in March 2015 and is now in force.
Besides envisaging training exchanges, joint military exercises and ship/aircraft visits, it offers a wide spectrum of collaborative activities ranging from weapons supply to joint arms development and rendering of humanitarian aid.
Following the successful implementation of the MOU, defense cooperation activities between both countries have gathered unprecedented momentum. The year 2014 witnessed reciprocal visits by high level delegations from Indian National Defense College and Saudi Higher Staff College.
The current year has witnessed the visit by a high ranking Saudi defense delegation to Aeroshow in Bangalore, port calls by Indian Navy ships at Jeddah and a visit by Indian Air Force fighter and transport aircraft alongside a large contingent of service personnel. Besides this, Saudi officers are also attending the NDC and DSSC courses in India.
While INS Delhi is an indigenously designed and built Guided Missile Destroyer, INS Trishul is a Talwar Class Frigate. The ships are 163 meters and 125 meters in length with displacements of 6,200 tons and 3,600 tons respectively. Capable of operating at extended ranges, they have speeds of up to 30 knots.
After the media briefing both the ships and Indian Embassy hosted a grand reception on board INS Delhi which was attended by Saudi Navy and defense forces officials as well as prominent Saudi and Indian citizens.
The reception showcased the multi-color Indian culture through folk dances like Bhangra and famous Bollywood numbers, which was followed by a gala dinner.
After sailing out of Jubail on Sunday, the two ships will make port calls at Doha, Qatar, and Muscat, Omar, before returning to Mumbai on Sept. 25.