PORT KLANG: Four front-line warships from the Indian navy are ending their goodwill tour of seven nations with a grand finale.
Prior to their call here, the vessels – INS Rana, INS Shivalik, INS Karmukh and INS Shakti – had visited China, Singapore, Japan, Vietnam, the Philippines and South Korea.
They carried over 1,000 sailors and 200 senior marine officers.
Led by Rear Admiral Ajit Kumar, the ships’ four-day visit to Malaysia is aimed at strengthening ties between the two naval forces.
Admiral Ajit said he was happy to be here and looked forward to meeting his Malaysian counterparts.
Battle ship: The ‘INS Shivalik’ docking at Port Klang yesterday. Inset: Admiral Ajit.
“Indians and Malaysians have a lot in common in terms of culture and sports. Therefore, we look forward to meeting our counterparts to discuss exchange programmes like swapping sailors for training purposes.
“We have established good ties with the Royal Malaysian Navy but there is always room for growth.
“We will meet Malaysian navy officers today (Thursday) to discuss if such programmes are viable,” he told reporters during a media tour of the INS Shakti, which serves as the fuel and logistics tanker to the other three destroyers.
Admiral Ajit expressed his gratitude to the Malaysian High Commission for arranging an array of activities for his crew members.
It is his third visit to Malaysia while the first for many of the crew members, he said, adding: “Port Klang is one of the nicest ports we have ever been to and I believe we will have a great time here.”
The ships will be open to the public from 10am to 1pm on Friday. Admission is free. The ships will leave for India on Saturday.
Urging Malaysians to make use of this opportunity, Admiral Ajit said it would serve as a great exposure to those boarding a battle ship for the first time.
He said the ships were named after warriors, weapons and mountains in India, adding that they symbolised power and strength.