The Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, visited the First Training Squadron Ships, last evening, at Quay A, Harbour Area, in Port-Louis. Several Ministers, the High Commissioner of India to Mauritius, Mrs K. Nandini Singla, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Anil Kumar Dip, and Members of the Diplomatic Corps, were also present. Captain Sarvpreet Singh from the First Training Squadron Ships along with his Commanding Officers facilitated the visit.
Three out of the seven First Training Squadron Ships namely the INS Tir, INS Sujata and CGS Sarathi, are docked in Mauritius in the context of the celebrations of the 55th Anniversary of the Independence of Mauritius and the 31st Anniversary of the country’s accession to the status of Republic.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister highlighted that the participation of the Indian Navy for activities marking the Independence Day celebrations is a testimony of the privileged relationship between Mauritius and India, strongly bound by ties that go deep in history. On this score, he extended his gratitude to the Government of India and the Indian Navy for this collaboration.
Underlining the critical role that seas play for Island nations, Prime Minister Jugnauth indicated that Government aims to double the contribution of this sector to the GDP in the medium term, owing to the immense potential of the blue economy for economic growth.
“Our partnership in the maritime domain has been longstanding and strengthened over time”, he said, adding that “the current joint EEZ surveillance carried out by the National Coast Guard (NCG) and the ships of the First Training Squadron of the Indian Navy plays a vital role. He also dwelt on courses, capacity-building and outreach programmes offered by the First Training Squadron.
The Prime Minister, moreover, extended his gratitude as regards the assistance provided by ships and aircrafts of the Indian Navy as well as assets of the NCG deployed during operations in connection with the grounded fishing vessel at Saint Brandon in December 2022. He commended the detailed operation involving helicopters, boats and commandos in the removal of pollutants and major safety hazards faced with adverse weather conditions. The joint deployment of Mauritius Police Officers and the Indian Navy showed the shared commitment and determination of both countries to address maritime contingencies and consolidate maritime security, he added.
For her part, the Indian High Commissioner elaborated on India’s support to Mauritius in the defence sector with the provision of more than 30 platforms and equipment and with the training of more than 1700 Mauritians during the last 15 years. Mrs Singla thus recalled the acquisition of the new Passenger Variant Dornier aircraft and emphasised that a New Advanced Light Helicopter will be commissioned on Tuesday 14 March 2023.
Regarding the First Training Squadron Ships, she pointed out that they have as objective to train freshly recruited Navy and Coast Guard Cadets adding that there are nine foreign Officers from different countries being trained including, three Mauritians. “On their way to Mauritius, the First Training Squadron Ships did a joint patrolling of the EEZ along with the aircraft and ships of the NCG to detect and deter illicit activity”, she said.
The Indian High Commissioner indicated that more than 1000 Mauritians were able to visit the ships on the open day held on Sunday 12 March 2023. She also lauded the initiative of the squadron for donating more than 500 kg of groceries and essential products to old age homes in Rose Hill.
Captain Singh, for his part, expressed appreciation for participating in the National Day celebrations of Mauritius and for the warm welcome received during their visit to Mauritius. The squadron, he underlined, train young sea trainees as part of the culmination of their basic training to give them an exposure to the tough and exciting life at sea.
“Exposure to friendly countries in our immediate maritime neighbourhood is also part of their training”, he said. He mentioned that India and Mauritius are maritime neighbours sharing mutual stakes in each other’s progress, prosperity and stability adding that our maritime forces have a major role to play in progressing these national goals.
First Training Squadron Ships
The squadron is part of the Indian Navy’s Southern Naval Command and is based at Kochi in the Southern Indian State of Kerala. Starting with two ships, the squadron now has seven ships and is engaged in training various international officers and sailors.
Training focus areas of squadron include exposure of life onboard ship; principles of seamanship; concepts of navigation; overall development of a young Officer; familiarisation of major and minor ports; and visiting foreign friendly countries.