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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Navy chief Robin Dhowan begins Canada visit

Rahul Singh , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 04, 2014
First Published: 20:34 IST(4/8/2014) | Last Updated: 20:36 IST(4/8/2014)

Admiral Robin Dhowan will kick off his four-day visit to Canada on Tuesday, his first after taking over as navy chief in April.

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Dhowan's visit is aimed at ramping up maritime cooperation with a country that is surrounded by oceans on three sides and has a 2.43-lakh km coastline, the longest in the world.

His Canada visit comes at a time when both navies are in the midst of a costly transformation. Canada had announced a 30-year national shipbuilding procurement strategy four years ago to build 28 warships.

In India, 44 warships are currently on order and are likely to be inducted in phases over the next 10 to 12 years.

"The visit will give both countries an opportunity to see how each is implementing its long-term maritime plans," a navy officer said.

The opening up of new sea corridors due to the shrinking of Arctic ice is also likely to interest Dhowan, as these may become viable transportation options for ships in the coming years.

India was granted observer status to the Arctic Council last year. It is closely monitoring the developments in the Arctic region, given the new opportunities and challenges emerging due to the melting of Arctic's ice cap. New Delhi says its interests there are "scientific, environmental, commercial as well as strategic".

Dhowan's itinerary includes a tour of the Esquimalt naval base at Victoria, which headquarters the Maritime Forces Pacific of the Canadian Navy. He will also visit Ottawa to hold talks with the senior hierarchy of Canadian forces. The Canadian navy chief had visited India in January 2013.


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