|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jul 16, 2016 08:22 AM EDT|
(Photo : IN) INS Sahyadri (top) and INS Kirch.
The commanding officer of the Indian Navy's most powerful surface fleet says India is prepared to assist other Asian countries should their maritime security be threatened.
Rear Admiral SV Bhokare, YSM, NM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF), pointed out that India wants peace but we "want to help other countries if they are in trouble. But if any countries want our help in maritime security and humanitarian relief, we will come forward."
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As for the rising tensions in the South China Sea caused by China's militarization of its man-made islands and China's claim to own this sea, Adm. Bhokare said India is ready.
"When our ships sail out, it means we are ready to attack anyone who attacks us," he said.
As FOCEF, Adm. Bhokhare commands some 30 warships and auxiliaries of the Eastern Fleet based in Visakhapatnam, the capital of Andhra Pradesh State along the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
Among these warships are destroyers, stealth frigates, amphibious ships, anti-submarine warfare corvettes, missile corvettes, offshore patrol vessels, missile boats and tankers.
Currently, however, Adm. Bokhare is in Port Klang, Malaysia as commander of a four-ship Indian Navy squadron that has made ports of call in the Philippines, South Korea and Russia.
Adm. Bhokare's squadron will remain in Malaysia for four days. Under his command are the guided-missile stealth frigate INS Sahyadri (Captain K.S. Rajkumar); the guided missile corvette INS Kirch (Commander Sharad Sinsunwal) and the support ship INS Shakti (Captain Gagan Kaushal).
The squadron is on its way back to Visakhapatnam after taking part in the annual Malabar war games with the United States Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force in the Pacific Ocean.
During the visit to Malaysia, the Indian Navy ships will have professional interaction with the Royal Malaysian Navy towards further enhancing cooperation between the two forces.
Adm. Bhokare said India has carried out military cooperation and exercises with many countries around the world. He took over as FOCEF in October 2015.
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