Indian naval ship Shardul is on a two-month-long deployment in the south Indian Ocean with an aim to provide surveillance support in the region, an official said.
“In keeping with India’s national objective of ensuring a secure and stable regional environment to allow unhindered economic and social development, not just in India, but also in the Indian Ocean region,” an official statement said.
The warship during the initial phase of deployment carried out joint EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) surveillance of Mauritius from March 8 to 26 in close coordination with that country’s National Coast Guard.
After successful completion of joint EEZ Surveillance of Mauritius, the warship entered EEZ of the Seychelles on March 27, for Phase I of similar EEZ surveillance.
The coordination meeting with officials from the Seychelles Coast Guard and INS Shardul was conducted at the Seychelles Coast Guard headquarters to discuss the modus operandi, extent of surveillance area and communication plan was framed.
INS Shardul then set sail from Port Victoria on March 31, with three Seychelles Coast Guard personnel on board for Phase II of EEZ surveillance and commenced it on April 1.
The warship will set sail from Port Victoria harbour on April 8 for Phase III of EEZ surveillance of the Seychelles before returning to India in mid April.
Since 2009, the Indian Navy has been deploying ships to the region bi-annually to assist in patrolling of the vast EEZ of the country based on request by host nations.
The last such deployment was by the same ship in December 2016.
INS Shardul is a Landing Ship Tank of the Indian Navy whose primary role is to transport troops, vehicles, armaments and accomplish all objectives of an amphibious operation which primarily includes landing of combat equipment and personnel to an Amphibious Objective Area.
INS Shardul has the capability to launch and recover Marine Commandos through sea as well as by helicopters. In addition, the ship can act as a “Hospital Ship” with facilities provided in containerised form as well as a “Fleet Tanker” for limited exercise.