In pursuance of India’s `Act East’ Policy, growing economic engagements and military to military interactions, a Kahin class Destroyer INS Rana of the Indian Navy has entered Jeju Naval Base, South Korea to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR).
The Destroyer which is on an operational deployment to the North West Pacific region during her eight day visit from Oct 8-15 is expected to have series of confidence-building engagements with the Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy and other foreign navies which are participating in the IFR.
During her stay at the Jeju Base, the 363 INS Rana crew will participate in the Navy Day Parade which is part of the IFR and will hold professional, cultural and sport exchanges with the participating countries.
On its way out next month, the INS Rana is also expected to hold PASSEX exercise with the ROK Navy. There have been several interactions between the Indian Navy and the ROK Navy last year including visits of the ships from both sides.
Also, as was announced earlier this year during the visit of President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Moon Jae-in, both sides concluded staff level talks in September this year focussing on enhancing engagement between the two navies in all aspects.
The changing dynamics of the region, the Indian Navy is taking steps to strengthening its maritime links. According to senior officers, the INS Rana visit will seek to further enhance maritime cooperation between the two Navies as well as other areas of interest.
As has been reported by FE earlier, there are growing opportunities related areas including naval ship building, and port infrastructure in India. There is already a Joint Working Group for Cooperation on the shipbuilding sector between the India and South Korea.
Also, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd and South Korean company Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) have been in talks for joint construction of Fleet Support Ships with modern shipbuilding techniques for some time now. Goa Shipyard Ltd too has been in discussions with South Korea’s Kangnam Corporation is in talks with the yard for twelve mine-counter measure vessels (MCMVs). The navy needs to swiftly scale up its mine warfare capability.
The two are working towards convergences between Prime Minister Modi’s Act East policy and President Moon’s new southern policy, which seek better ties with countries in the Indo-Pacific.
There has been a conscious decision to expand India’s scope of its economic, security, and connectivity plans over a wider area in the Pacific littorals, including Japan, South Korea, Australia, and the Pacific Island states under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s `Act East Policy ’. Since maritime engagement is the major component of this policy the Indian Navy has been having regular ship visits, naval exercises, and maritime capacity building programmes with partner navies in the region.