Warships on visit to Qatar
Indian Naval Ships Deepak, Delhi, Tabar and Trishul are on a month-long deployment to the Gulf to enhance bilateral ties and engage in naval exercises with friendly regional navies. The visiting ships form part of the Indian Navy’s Western Fleet and are based at Mumbai. Of the four ships, INS Delhi and INS Trishul entered Doha, Qatar on 14 Sep 15 and shall remain there till 17 Sep 15, during which the warships will have professional interactions for enhancing co-operation and sharing the nuances of naval operations including disaster management and combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy. Apart from professional interactions, sports and social engagements are also planned, which are aimed at enhancing co-operation and understanding between the Navies.
India has an ancient maritime tradition and maritime interaction with the Gulf dates back to over 4000 years B.C. The Indian Navy has multi-dimensional capability comprising aircraft carriers, modern ships, submarines, aircraft and marine commandos. A notable feature of the Indian Navy’s force structure is the fact that the overwhelming majority of its ships are designed and constructed in India.
The Indian Navy has close and friendly ties with all navies in the Gulf and has been regularly exercising with many of them. The Indian Navy is also privileged to provide 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 interaction with navies in the region.
Bilateral relations between India and Qatar have traditionally focussed on economic and people-to-people linkages. The booming trade relations could soon see India as Qatar’s largest trading partner. The last decade witnessed steady growth in the defence relations between the countries, which was further strengthened by the ‘Defence Cooperation Agreement’ signed between the two countries in Nov 08. The setting up of the ‘India-Qatar Joint Defence Cooperation Committee’ has enhanced cooperation in the fields of training, strategic study, conduct of exercises and information sharing. The growing naval cooperation between the countries is evidenced by the increased high level visits in addition to cross training of naval officers and port visits by naval ships. India and Qatar are also members of Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a voluntary and co-operative initiative between 35 countries of the Indian Ocean Region, which has served as an ideal forum for sharing of information and cooperation on maritime issues. The current visit seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with the friendly countries in the Gulf and strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and Qatar.