The Indian Navy Ship INS Sahyadri’s visit to Darwin last week marked the first time since 1951 that an Indian warship has visited the top end port.
Sahyardri, the most modern warship in the Indian Fleet, was hosted by HMAS Perth alongside Darwin between 10-12 June, before conducting a PASSEX (passing exercise) and in-company training with Perth at sea for 48 hours.
The two ships departed Darwin Harbour in formation on 13 June, with Sahyadri and Perth on show for a number of observers assembled ashore.
Once clear of the harbour, the two ships sought to gain maximum benefit from time-in-company while transiting the Arafura Sea via the Vernon Island group by engaging in navigational and communications exercises, such as Officer of the Watch Manoeuvres and Flag hoist drills.
Perth’s Commanding Officer, Captain Lee Goddard was impressed with the professionalism of the Indian warship and with the ease that the two navies were able to communicate and understand each others tactical procedures.
The crew of Sahyadri was particularly interested in the Royal Australian Navy’s experiences at the last Exercise RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific), noting that Sahyadri will be the first Indian warship to participate in the next iteration of RIMPAC, the worlds largest maritime exercise, which kicks off in Hawaii next month.
The PASSEX with Perth followed a busy three-day working visit to Darwin by Sahyadri, following her direct transit from India. For most of her crew, this visit was their first visit to Darwin, but not their first to Australian shores; the majority having made the entry into Sydney Harbour during the Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review (IFR) onboard Sahyadri in October 2013.
During her IFR visit, Perth spent time in company with Sahyadri through Bass Strait, after which the ship’s companies enjoyed reciprocal ship tours while in Sydney. Sahyadri’s port visit to Darwin presented the perfect opportunity for past acquaintances to be renewed, and Captain Goddard hosted Sahyadri’s Commanding Officer, Commander Jyotin Raina, and the Consul General of India, Mr Mandarapu Subbarayudu, onboard Perth.
Perth’s Officers and Senior Sailors took the opportunity to again welcome their counterparts to Australia during official functions conducted ashore in Darwin. Sahyadri reciprocated by hosting a marvellous official reception on her flight deck that was attended by local officials and Perth’s Officers and Senior Sailors.
“The whole five day period, both ashore and at sea was very positive and demonstrated the importance of trust and friendship between navies. The Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy have much in common to build on for similar events in the future,” Captain Goddard said.
Upon completion of the PASSEX, Sahyadri broke away from Perth to continue on to her deployment in the Pacific Ocean, where in July she will be the first Indian Naval vessel to visit Hawaii and participate in RIMPAC, which she’ll do alongside the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20141719.