An India-built naval patrol vessel for Mauritius that will help in better policing its vast exclusive economic zone was commissioned Thursday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi who said it will make the Indian Ocean "more safer and secure".
The induction of the 1,300-tonne vessel 'Barracuda' for the Mauritian National Coast Guard amid attempts by China to establish its presence in the Indian Ocean Region marks the first of such sales to this strategic island nation which include fast attack craft under construction in Indian shipyards.
It is the first defence export order for a warship built in India.
"Barracuda is a beautiful ship. She is also very capable and built to specifications of Mauritius...She will protect your islands and your waters," Modi said after commissioning the ship at Quay 'A' of Port Louis harbour in the presence of his Mauritian counterpart Aneerod Jugnauth.
"She will be there to help in times of disasters and emergencies. But she will do more than that. She will also help make our Indian Ocean safer and more secure," he said.
Mauritius has a vast 2.3 million sq km of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Jugnauth, while observing that Mauritius by virtue of its strategic location is recognised as a hub of maritime activities in Indian Ocean, said the induction of coastal patrol vessel was yet another step for better control of its large assets besides helping in policing transnational crimes like piracy and bridging the communication gaps among its various islands.
He said Mauritius requires armaments like Fast Attack Aircraft and light armoured personnel carriers and was hopeful India would extend support in this regard.
'Barracuda' which has automatic 30 mm Rapid Fire Gun and 12.7 mm Heavy Machine Guns as part of its ammunition was handed over to Mauritius in December 2014 by Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE).
The vessel has been built at an estimated cost of USD 60 million. India is optimistic about a follow up order after the commissioning of 'Barracuda'.