IN Ships Kolkata and Shakti entered Qingdao, China to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) as part of 70th Anniversary Celebrations of PLA (Navy) on April 21, 2019. Entry of IN Ships was marked by firing of 21 gun salute to the Peoples Republic of China. The Ships were welcomed into harbour by officials from PLA (N) North Sea Fleet with live performance of Naval Band as part of Welcome Ceremony.
The participation of Indian Navy in PLA (N) IFR, for third consecutive time (2009, 2014 and 2019), is a demonstration of the Nation's commitment to enhance maritime cooperation between the two navies and bolster bonds of friendship between the two Countries. The IN has deployed its finest assets for the IFR with an aim to strengthen existing cooperation, enhance mutual trust, extend interoperability and build greater synergy to address common maritime concerns among participating navies.
During the stay in harbour, activities scheduled include courtesy calls to various dignitaries of PLA(N), naval band performance in the famous MAY 4THSquare and various other functions of IFR including opening ceremony, planning conferences and table top exercise. IN Ships will take part in the parade of naval ships scheduled on 23 Apr which will be reviewed by the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Personnel from IN Ships would also be participating in various sporting events, professional exchanges with participating navies and ship visit by PLA (Navy) personnel and local populace. The Indian Ambassador to China, Shri Vikram Misri, will also host a reception onboard INS Kolkata for dignitaries, officers of PLA (Navy) and delegations participating in the IFR.
The IN Ships had earlier called at Port Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam for a good will visit prior entering Qingdao. The ships are also scheduled to visit Port Busan, South Korea and Singapore on their return journey to India as part of Eastern Fleet Overseas Deployment. The Annual Overseas Deployment to the South China Sea is an important facet of Government of India's 'Act East' policy and Indian Navy's efforts to "Unite Nations Through the Oceans", through which India wishes to extend the 'Bridges of Friendship' through enhanced cultural, economic and maritime interactions with countries of East and South-East Asia.