Indian Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Narendra Modi announced in the 2nd Summit of Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) held at Jaipur, India in August 2015 that Indian Naval Ships (INS) will make goodwill visits to Pacific Island Countries. Indian Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel Sumitra will be coming to Suva (Fiji) on 26 October 2016.
INS Sumitra, is the fourth of the Saryu class ships, based on an indigenous design and constructed by M/s Goa Shipyard Ltd, India. Since commissioning in 2014, the ship has been deployed for multiple operational tasks, the most notable being ‘Operation Rahat’, which entailed the evacuation of personnel of various nationalities from war-torn Yemen in 2015. The ship has a range of 6,500 nautical miles and is capable of embarking one Dhruv/ Chetak helicopter.
The INS Sumitra’s visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing maritime security cooperation between the two countries. During the stay in harbour, various activities are planned towards enhancing cooperation and mutual understanding between the two Navies. These include official calls and interaction with dignitaries of the Fijian Government and the Fijian Navy, onboard visits by local populace, visits for Indian Navy personnel and professional interaction between personnel of both Navies.
During the stay of INS Sumitra at Suva, the following activities are being planned:
Handing over of five tons of seeds from Government of India to Ministry of Agriculture, Government of the Republic of Fiji.
Band display and entertainment, in which Indian Naval Band along with RFMF band jointly perform at Ratu Sukuna Park from 1030 hrs to 1730 hrs on 27 October 2016.
Volleyball match between INS Sumitra crew and RFMF team at Balling Club near Grand Pacific Hotel at 1400 hrs to 1600 hrs on 27 October 2016.
Medical camp by Indian and Fijian doctors for general health checkup at Ratu Sukuna Park from 0900 hrs to 1200 hrs and 1300 hrs to 1600 hrs on 27-28 October 2016.
Open day for onboard visits by local populace will be from 1000 hrs to 1600 hrs on 27 October 2016.
INS Sumitra’s visit to Fiji would further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.