Indian Navy’s sailing ship INS Sudarshini is set to sail from Kochi to Singapore next month to mark the golden jubilee of bilateral ties between India and the island state in South-East Asia.
“To mark the completion of 50 years of diplomatic ties between India and Singapore, the Indian Navy has decided to set to sail INS Sudarshini to that country. We are planning to leave Kochi by the end of next month,” Commander T Rajasekhar, Commanding Officer of INS Sudarshini told PTI.
The ship would be open for visitors between January 19 and 23 next year in Singapore, he said.
Earlier this year, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj kicked off year-long celebrations to mark 50 years of establishment of India-Singapore diplomatic ties jointly with Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam, who noted that India was one of the first countries to give diplomatic recognition to Singapore.
To mark the feat, President Pranab Mukherjee and his Singapore counterpart Tony Tan would exchange state visits next year.
Shanmugam had also said the year-long celebration would also include a Singapore festival in India and an Indian festival in Singapore.
The annual bilateral trade has flourished in the last decade from $ 4.2 billion in 2003-04 to around $ 19.4 billion in 2013-14, notably since the signing of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in 2005.
Belonging to the First Training Squadron at the Southern Naval Command of the Indian Navy, INS Sudarshini is primarily engaged in training naval and NCC cadets on the seamanship but also goes on historic voyages around the world.
Since its official launch in 2011, the three-masted sailing ship with a barque rig has been on significant voyages of national importance.
The 54-metre-long ship with 20 sails has been on a six-month voyage to nine ASEAN nations during 2012-13 retracing the ancient route taken by Indian mariners to South East Asia during the 18th century.
INS Sudarshini with a crew of five officers, 31 sailors and 30 cadets can remain at sea for at least 20 days at a time. INS Sudarshini is presently sailing from Chennai to Nagappattinam in Tamil Nadu, to mark the Indian Navy’s commemoration of emperor Rajendra Chola’s millennium of coronation.