Iran, India stress expansion of naval cooperation
The Islamic Republic of Iran and India are eager to see closer cooperation between the two countries’ navies.
The Iranian 28th naval fleet, comprising Alborz destroyer, Bandar Abbas auxiliary ship, Younes super-heavy submarine and a Bell 212 Twin Huey helicopter, docked at the western Indian port city of Mumbai on Thursday.
Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command (WNC) in Mumbai, officially welcomed the Iranian flotilla.
In a meeting with members of the fleet, including its commander Captain Babak Balouch, Sinha called for closer naval cooperation with Iran.
He suggested that Iran and India outline a framework for joint cooperation and provision of security for merchant vessels in India’s western waters all the way to the Persian Gulf, stressing that such cooperation would benefit countries of the region too.
Iranian and Indian navies can work together closely in a whole range of areas, said the Indian commander, adding that his country welcomes the development of such partnership.
The Iranian commander, for his part, underlined the significance of naval cooperation between the two countries aimed at ensuring the security of cargo vessels.
Meanwhile, Iranian military attaché in India Colonel Mohsen Qadimi said that the 28th fleet is tasked with protecting the security of naval routes for Iranian vessels in free waters.
He said that the fleet will travel 8,000 miles from the north of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea to help vessels which come under attacks by pirates.
In recent years, the Iranian Navy has increased its presence in international waters, including the northern tip of the Indian Ocean, the Bab el-Mandeb strait and the Red Sea, to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.
In line with international efforts against piracy, the Navy has also been conducting patrols in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden since November 2008 in order to safeguard merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.
The Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its mission in international waters.