INDIA. Mumbai: The maiden bilateral naval exercise, comprising shore and sea-based drills between the navies of India and Saudi Arabia, dubbed “Al-Mohed Al-Hindi,” began in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
A flagship warship of India’s Western Naval Fleet, INS Kochi reached Port Al-Jubail on August 9. Beginning with the harbour phase, the Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021 exercise witnessed Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet (FOCWF), calling on Rear Admiral Majid Al Qahtani, Fleet Commander of the Royal Saudi Navy’s Eastern Fleet, on August 10 at the King Abdul Aziz Naval Base, the headquarters of the Saudi Eastern Fleet.
The FOCWF also visited the King Fahd Naval Academy and met with the Commandant, Rear Admiral Faisal Bin Fahd Al Ghufaily. On August 11, Rear Admiral Ajay Kochhar, accompanied by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, the Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, called on Saud bin Nayef Al Saud, Governor of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in Dammam.
The Indian Embassy in Riyadh has called the visit by INS Kochi to Saudi Arabia and the maiden naval exercises between India and Saudi Arabia as heralding “a new chapter in the bilateral defence ties between the two countries”.
On the operational front, the team of the Indian Navy met with counterparts of the Royal Saudi Navy for a coordinating conference at King Abdulaziz Naval base in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia. For a deeper understanding of each other’s operational practices, lectures by subject matter experts from both navies were also held, an Indian Navy statement said.
War veteran felicitated
In another development, as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ (commemoration of 75 years of Independence), Havildar Madhusudhan Narayan Surve, Shaurya Chakra, was felicitated by Western Naval Command at Naval Receiving Station (NRS), in Thane on Thursday.
On the occasion, the Army veteran who had served in 21 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) shared some of his experiences during various operations in India and abroad including taking part in the Kargil war (Op Vijay) and Operation ‘Hifazat-2’ in Manipur during 2005, for which he was awarded the Shaurya Chakra.
Lt Cdr V Ganeshan, officer-in-charge of NRS (Thane), interacted with the war veteran in an extensive Q&A session during the felicitation ceremony. Captain Paresh Kowli from Headquarters Maharashtra Naval Area presented a memento to Surve on behalf of Western Naval Command. The ceremony was streamed live on gallantryawards.gov.in and attended by service personnel, veterans, NCC cadets, and family members.