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JEDDAH: The ships of the Indian Navy’s first training squadron – INS Tir and INS Sujata along with the Indian Coast Guard vessel Sarathi – arrived at the port of Jeddah on Thursday for a training exchange.

The exercise comes amid growing defense ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

The ships were also joined by INS Tarangini, one of the world’s few sailing training ships, on Friday.

The arrival of the ships in Jeddah heralds a new chapter in bilateral defense relations after the first-ever joint naval exercise between India and the Kingdom, “Al-Mohed Al-Hind”, which took place last year.

The squadron is commanded by Captain Aftab Ahmed Khan, senior officer of the first training squadron and commander of INS Tir.

Upon arrival at the port of Jeddah, the ships were warmly welcomed by officials from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Border Guards and the Indian Embassy.

Over the years, the ship has trained over 4,000 officers, including those from friendly foreign nations, visited 27 countries, and been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Provided)

In February this year, a delegation from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces took part in the multinational exercise “Milan 2022” which saw delegations from 40 countries train on the east coast of India.

During a Friday evening reception on INR Tir, Indian Charge d’Affaires N. Ram Prasad said the arrival of the Indian Navy ships was a testament to the growing defense ties between India and Saudi Arabia.

“The past few years have seen tremendous growth in our bilateral relations, whether in energy, trade, infrastructure development, medical research, people-to-people exchanges, cooperation in defense and security.

India is Saudi Arabia’s second largest trading partner with trade approaching $40 billion, he said.

“As we celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations between India and Saudi Arabia, we can look back with pride on the development of brotherly ties over the past decades,” Prasad said.

Over the years, the ship has trained over 4,000 officers, including those from friendly foreign nations, visited 27 countries, and been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation. (Provided)

Captain Aftab welcomed the officers of the Saudi naval forces as well as the diplomatic community and said it was a proud moment to be in Jeddah. “We are committed to the maritime security of our friendly nations,” he said, and wished everyone Eid greetings.

He thanked the Indian Defense Attaché, Colonel GS Grewal and the Indian Missions in Riyadh and Jeddah for the great hospitality given to the ships.

INS Tir (meaning arrow) is the first dedicated cadet training vessel to be built by Mazagon Dock Ltd. in Mumbai, and was commissioned on 21 February 1986. She is the lead ship of the Southern Naval Command’s First Training Squadron and is equipped with all modern training amenities.

Over the years, the ship has trained over 4,000 officers, including those from friendly foreign nations, visited 27 countries, and been a beacon of maritime diplomacy and foreign cooperation.

The ship can carry up to 293 people on board, although her typical deployment is with 20 instructors and 120 cadets. Equipped with state-of-the-art training infrastructure and a communications and gunnery suite, the ship carries a helicopter and has also participated in anti-piracy missions in the past.

INS Sujata is a Sukanya-class offshore patrol vessel of the Indian Navy commissioned on 3 November 1993. The vessel undertakes fleet support operations, humanitarian assistance missions, offshore patrols, ocean surveillance duties and escort. A cadet training ship for nine years, cadets are exposed to the practical aspects of navigation and seamanship on the ship before moving on to complex assignments.

The Indian Coast Guard vessel Sarathi (meaning charioteer) is the third in a series of six offshore patrol vessels designed and built domestically by Goa Shipyard Ltd. Commissioned on September 9, 2016, the 105-meter vessel is equipped with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment, sensors and machinery.

Its features include a CRN-91 30 millimeter naval gun, an integrated bridge system, an integrated machinery control system, a power management system and a high-powered external firefighting system.

The vessel is designed to carry a twin-engine light helicopter and five high-speed boats, including two fast-reacting inflatable boats for fast boarding operations, search and rescue, law enforcement and maritime patrol. The vessel is also capable of carrying pollution control equipment to contain oil spills at sea.