NEW DELHI: INS Shardul and Malagasy Naval Ship Trozona undertook Joint Patrol of Madagascar’s Exclusive Economic Zone and participated in PASSEX. The first ever Joint Patrol between the navies of India and Madagascar reflect the growing defence ties between the two Indian Ocean neighbours aimed at the common objective of ensuring maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region. A 4-member delegation led by Major General Léon Jean Richard RAKOTONIRINA, Minister of National Defence, Republic of Madagascar had visited India from 3rd-5th February 2021 to participate in the Aero India 2021 and IOR Defence Ministers Conclave at Bengaluru.
Indian Naval Ship Shardul had arrived at port of Antsiranana, Madagascar on 21st March for Overseas Deployment of training squadron headed by Captain Aftab Ahmed Khan. Owing to prevailing Covid 19 situation, the port call was conducted through virtual conferences with officials of Madagascar Armed Forces on 23rd March 2021. The interaction between the Base Commander and Senior Officer, 1st Training Squadron was conducted on jetty following requisite COVID protocols.
INDIAN NAVY’S 1ST TRAINING SQUAD VISIT TO MADAGASCAR
Indian Naval Ship INS Shardul made a port call at Antsiranana, Madagascar as part of First Training Squadron’s (1TS) Overseas Deployment from 21 – 24 March. Officer trainees of the 99th Integrated Officer Training Course are embarked onboard during the ship’s visit. Adhering to Covid19 protocols, the port call was conducted in a non-contact format and a virtual conference with officials of Madagascar Armed Forces was held on 23 Mar. The conference was attended by Gen Montrogue Fitz Gerald, Chief of Ankarana Defence Zone, Captain Sam Hieng Twion, Antsiranana Naval Base Commander, Capt Aftab Ahmed Khan, Senior Officer First Training Squadron and Cdr Akshay Khanna, Commanding Officer INS Shardul. The Chief of Ankarana Defence Zone welcomed the ship and appreciated the growing relations between the defence forces of two nations. The conference was followed by a visit of Captain Sam Hieng Twion, Naval Base Commander, Antsirana to INS Shardul.
INS Shardul and Malagasy Navy ship MNS Trozona carried out a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) on 24 Mar. The Joint exercise bears testimony to the growing bonds between the maritime forces of both the nations and aimed at common objectives of ensuring maritime security by India and Madagascar and interoperability between the two navies. 1TS forms a part of Southern Naval Command (SNC), which is the training command of the Indian Navy, headed by Vice Admiral AK Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command. India and Madagascar share a strong maritime relation and visit by the First Training Squadron to Antsiranana is a step towards further strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two nations.
INDIA SENDS HUMANITARIAN AID TO TO DEAL WITH DROUGHT IN SOUTH MADAGASCAR
Humanitarian aid of 1000 metric tonnes of rice and 100,000 tablets of HCQ brought by INS Jalashwa to help Madagascar in dealing with the drought situation in South Madagascar was handed over to the Prime Minister of Madagascar Mr. Christian Ntsay by the Ambassador of India Mr. Abhay Kumar in an official ceremony at the port of Ehoala, Fort Dauphine , Madagascar. On receiving the consignment, the Prime Minister said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome you at Fort Dauphine as you know it is challenging for us to face this situation in South Madagascar. We have a long common history between India and Madagascar. This is another proof of our relationship; a big and very useful cooperation between Madagascar and India. Today we are here to welcome this donation and its very important for us to welcome that as South of Madagascar is facing a huge challenge. I would like to thank you so much for this donation to south of Madagascar.”
After receiving the aid Prime Minister Christian Ntsay wrote in the visitor’s book of the ship: “I am pleased to welcome this donation granted by the Government of India. I really appreciate the excellent relationship between India and Madagascar under the leadership of the Ambassador of India in Madagascar. I thank the Indian Navy through the Captain and his team for the logistics and this demonstrates the friendship and the brotherhood between our both people. Again thanks a million for this donation and other domains of cooperation between our both countries.” Speaking on this occasion, Ambassador of India to Madagascar said: “What makes India Madagascar relationship special is the willingness to come for help when we need each other. India and Madagascar stand with each other from shoulder to shoulder. Whether it be floods or drought, India stands with Madagascar. We are not only geographically close but also geologically close and culturally connected. There is a strong Indian origin community in Fort Dauphine originally from Gujarat which has worked together with our brothers and sisters in Madagascar. This is the first time in history that we have two Indian Naval Ships, INS Jalashwa in Fort Dauphine and INS Shardul in Antsiranana at the same time. In south of Madagascar, we have brought humanitarian aid and in north of Madagascar we have a Mobile Training Team working with Malagasy Navy and sharing experiences.”
On 1st March, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar had a phone conversation with the Foreign Minister of Madagascar, Dr. Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba A.S Oliva, when the prompt Indian assistance to deal with the humanitarian crisis in South of Madagascar due to severe drought was conveyed by the EAM to FM Oliva. During the phone conversation, EAM recalled the excellent bilateral ties of friendship between India and Madagascar and that India has always been among the first responders when it comes to assist the people of Madagascar in such humanitarian crisis. India has always been a reliable partner of Madagascar in time of need. Last year, INS Shardul had visited the Port of Antsiranana on 10th March 2020 with relief material comprising 600 tonnes of rice on behalf of India to deliver quick relief to the flood victims of Madagascar. It was the biggest relief load ever carried by any Indian warship, loaded, transported and unloaded in record time, for quick relief assistance. The supplies of food assistance and support for capacity building to Madagascar is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR and India’s time-tested role as a net security provider in the Indian Ocean Region.