Indian vessel docks at Walvis Bay

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Indian vessel docks at Walvis Bay

Eveline de Klerk

WALVIS BAY – The Indian naval ship INS Tarkash with over 260 crew docked at the port of Walvis Bay on Tuesday after departing from India on 27 June.

As part of her long-range operational deployment as well as to promote mutual relations with their Namibian counterparts, she is visiting Namibia for the third time.

Speaking during a visit on board, Indian high commissioner to Namibia Prashant Agrawal said “we value our ties with Namibia, the trade we enjoy with each other, the close military relationship we have, and the visit of our ship is to further cement the bridges of friendship that we have established across the seas”.

He added that India’s continued commitment to capacity-building through ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) and other bilateral frameworks in Namibia has been a solid pillar of defence cooperation between the two countries.

India to date trained over 15 000 people from four countries through the programme at various units of the Indian Armed Forces.

“Namibia has also been availed vacancies at various training units of the armed forces, and we do hope that in the coming years, we will see an upward revision in the seats being availed by the Namibian armed forces. The visit of the INS Tarkash would also offer some new avenues for enhancing the relationship in the maritime domain”.

Commanding officer of the ship Abraham Samuel explained that they transited across the Gulf of Aden, Suez Canal, Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic

Ocean, and made port calls at Djibouti, Egypt, Spain, Senegal, Brazil, Togo, Nigeria and Gabon. The ship was also involved in her maiden anti-piracy deployment in the high-risk area of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) before heading to Namibia.

He said they will be in Namibia for three days, and apart from official engagements, will also conduct community exchange programmes.

“We will interact with our Namibian counterparts, and take part in capacity-building activities such as professional exchanges on firefighting and damage control, medical lectures, cross deck visits and a tree planting ceremony,” he added.