In pursuit of India’s ‘Act East’ policy and outreach to friendly countries, the Indian Navy’s offshore patrol vessel Sumitra was in Darwin, Australia, on December 6, 2016, on a three-day visit. The ship is returning to India after participating in the Royal New Zealand Navy International Naval Review 2016. The ship had earlier visited Sydney from November 4-7, 2016.
The visit to Australia was aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and enhancing maritime security cooperation between the two countries. During the stay in harbour, various activities are planned towards enhancing cooperation and mutual understanding between the two navies such as professional interactions with RAN and discussions towards further enhancing interoperability.
Sumitra is the fourth of the Saryu class ships, based on an indigenous design and constructed by Goa Shipyard Limited. Since commissioning in 2014, the ship has been deployed for multiple operational tasks, the most notable being ‘Operation Rahat’, which entailed the evacuation of personnel of various nationalities from war-torn Yemen in 2015. The ship has a range of 6,500 nautical miles and is capable of embarking one Dhruv/Chetak helicopter. The ship is commanded by Cdr K.P. Shreeshan.