Philip Nwosu, Lagos
The visiting Indian Navy warship, INS TARKASH, has concluded a naval manoeuvre with Nigerian Navy frigate NNS UNITY and three other patrol vessels – NNS KARADUA, NNS SAGBAMA and NNS NGURU – as part of scheduled activities to mark the end of her visit to Lagos.
The exercise, which took place within Nigeria’s territorial waters, saw the vessels exercising on fleet manoeuvre, visit, board, search and seizure, gunnery exercise and medical evacuation.
The Nigerian Navy said the objective of the exercise tagged PASSEX or PASSAGE EXERCISE was to assess the operational readiness of ships, gun boat and other platforms of the Indian Navy’s Western fleet in order to practically test the skills of personnel in tackling maritime threats within the Naval Command’s area of responsibility.
It was learnt that the exercise was conducted in line with Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas’ mission to develop a naval force that is well trained, organised and highly motivated to discharge its constitutional roles, professionally and efficiently for the defence of Nigeria and to ensure her economic prosperity.
Earlier, while visiting the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, the Commanding Officer of the INS TARKASH, Captain Sathish Vasudev, said: “We are here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Indian and Nigerian diplomatic ties. Let me say that India established ties with Nigeria even two years before Nigeria got Independence.
“We understand that there are issues of piracy. And the Nigerian Navy is doing an excellent job in its fight against piracy.
“As part of our visit, we will like to learn from the Nigerian Navy how best to tackle issues of piracy, especially in the Gulf of Guinea. It will be an honour for us to get some inputs from the Nigerian Navy,” the Indian Commander said.
Daily Sun learnt that the deployment of TARKASH was part of Indian Navy’s Overseas Deployment to Africa, Europe and Russia. The port call to Lagos was scheduled to celebrate the 60th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between India and Nigeria. INS TARKASH is one of the most potent frontline frigates of the Indian Navy equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors. The ship is part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet and under the Operational Command of Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, based at Mumbai.
During the port call, various dignitaries and government officials of Nigeria are scheduled to visit the ship. Professional interactions are planned with the Nigerian Navy towards further enhancing co-operation between the two countries. In addition to social engagements and sports events, best practices will also be shared between the two navies. The ship also conducted a medical camp along with Nigerian Navy doctors for the local population.