When INS Tarangini, the Navy’s only sail ship, was docked in Suva in January 2004 during her round-the-world friendship cruise, Fijian leaders transcended all political barriers and came together to explore Tarangini.
The Indian Navy also hasn’t forgotten the picture of comity. Hoping to recreate that magic, for the first time a navy warship, INS Tabar, will be shaping course towards Suva sometime next month. The frigate is currently sailing off the course of Australia and will kiss Sydney, Perth and Auckland before embarking on the voyage to Suva.
Indian Navy spokesperson Cdr Vinay Garg told Hindustan Times that the ship would provide an opportunity to Indian tourists “to feel closer to home,” he added that many Indians who visited Tarangini kissed the ship’s deck. It was an expression of their love for India. Tabar too will evoke memories. “We also hope it ignites some political camaraderie once again,” he said. Suva is home to about four lakh people of Indian origin who make up almost half the population.
INS Tabar, the third frigate of the Talwar class, was involved in relief operations after a devastating earthquake struck Indonesia and caused casualties last month. The ship carried 25 tonnes of relief material for the quake victims from Chennai.