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Indian Navy’s INS Kulish, Dornier aircraft reach Belawan in Indonesia

A joint statement issued after the talks between Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the leaders had agreed that the two countries, which are already strategic partners and maritime neighbours, need to ‘further strengthen and broaden the already robust defence cooperation’. File photo: AFP

New Delhi: An Indian missile corvette and a Dornier maritime patrol aircraft have reached Belawan in Indonesia for the closing of the 31st edition of the India-Indonesia coordinated patrol.

INS Kulish (Indian naval ship) commanded by Commander Deepak Bali and the Dornier aircraft from the Andaman and Nicobar Command reached Belawan after coordinated patrols between India and one of its closest maritime neighbour among Southeast Asian countries between 26 May and 2 June, the Indian Navy said.

“The visit of the Indian Naval Ship seeks to underscore India’s peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and Indonesia,” the Navy said.

“The current deployment will contribute towards Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship across the seas,” it added.

The coordinated patrol between the Indian and Indonesian navies coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first visit to Indonesia on 29-30 May.

A joint statement issued after the talks between Modi and Indonesian President Joko Widodo said that the leaders had agreed that the two countries, which are already strategic partners and maritime neighbours, need to “further strengthen and broaden the already robust defence cooperation”.

“The leaders reaffirmed their commitment in the field of defence, with the signing of Defence Cooperation Agreement between the two countries. The agreement will further strengthen and renew the existing cooperation for the mutual benefit of the two countries and the region,” according to the joint statement.

Modi and Widodo agreed that “regular meetings and active follow up of decisions of relevant institutional dialogue mechanisms were essential to realise the potential for bilateral defence cooperation,” it said.

“They also agreed to further enhance mutual trust through regular meetings and staff talks between the armies, navies and air forces of the two countries and took positive note of the first air force to air force staff talks,” it added.

The two leaders also welcomed a decision “to hold bilateral joint exercises between their navies and air forces with an endorsement upon the finalisation of standard operational procedure by both navies and air forces,” it said.

At the Shangrila Dialogue in Singapore on 1 June, Modi underlined India’s presence and interaction with near and distant maritime partners but said that this was not aimed at any country — seen as a reference to China — while firmly pushing a role for India in the region.

“Indian naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the main maritime concerns of the region. In addition, as part of the Indian Government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region), the Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean region with exclusive economic zone surveillance, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities,” according to the Indian navy statement.

The reference was to Indian naval ships making increased port calls in countries across the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia region in recent months.

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