By Sajeev K Peter

KUWAIT: The visit of three Indian naval ships to Kuwait signifies India's commitment to establishing cooperative partnership with friendly nations of the Indian Ocean region and beyond, said Indian Ambassador Sibi George on Wednesday. During a reception hosted on board INS TIR on the occasion of the visit of the ships, the ambassador said: "Such enhanced cooperation would help both navies address maritime challenges together."

Ambassador Sibi George signs a guest book as captains of the Indian ships look on.

Three Indian naval ships - INS TIR, INS Sujatha and Indian Coast Guard ship INS Sarathi - arrived on Oct 4, marking a milestone in defense ties between India and Kuwait. The reception to celebrate the visit of the ships was attended by ambassadors, captains of the three ships - Capt Sarvpreet Singh, Capt Randip Ghosh and Capt Parithosh Pathak -, senior officers from Kuwait Navy and Indian Navy, Kuwaiti dignitaries and Indian community members.

The ambassador said he is happy to see the significant achievements India has made in building a very strong navy, which is contributing immensely in ensuring the safety, security and stability of the Indian Ocean and beyond. "I am confident that in coming months, we will have more visits of ships and more bilateral engagements between Indian and Kuwaiti defense forces," he said.

George thanked the Kuwaiti leadership and Brig Gen Ahmed Mohammed Al-Bati, Kuwait Navy Director General, Operations and his team for the arrangements and support extended to the visiting naval team. The ambassador recalled the dispatch of an emergency medical team from India to Kuwait and then the supply of medical oxygen from Kuwait to India, which made Kuwait one of the largest suppliers of medical oxygen to India.

A dance performance on board the Coast Guard ship INS Sarathi.

Special bond

In his opening remarks, INS TIR Captain Sarvpreet Singh said India and Kuwait share a special bond that has been traditionally warm and friendly and is rooted in history. "This bond has been nurtured by excellent bonhomie and an environment of friendship and trust between our countries," he said. Kuwait has diplomatically facilitated many peace initiatives in the region in recent past and deserves accolades for the same," Singh said.

"The senior leaderships of both Indian and Kuwaiti navies have very positive intent and focused interest to further cooperation and relations. The visit of the prestigious First Training Squadron is indicative of that intent," said Singh.

The ocean being a global common, India and Kuwait are maritime neighbors and share mutual stakes in each other's progress, prosperity and territorial stability, Singh said. "Our navies have a major role to play in advancing these national goals. We understand that cooperation between willing navies in maritime neighborhood has not just an additive but a multiplicative effect in keeping the seas safe," he pointed out.

On the training front, Capt Singh said the Indian Navy is a well-established training destination for many partner navies. "I have trainees from friendly foreign navies training with me in the First Training Squadron. It is my dream to have officers from Kuwait also to train with us. Because I am convinced that there can be no better investment in friendship than being course mates in training programs," he added. The three Indian ships will leave Kuwait on Oct 7 for the UAE, their next destination in the region.