Beijing: Two Indian battle ships, including the biggest indigenously built stealth destroyer ‘INS Kolkata’, have arrived at the Chinese port city of Qingdao to take part in the Chinese Navy’s fleet review. However, for the first time the Pakistan naval ships will be conspicuous by their absence at the event.
China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is celebrating their 70th founding anniversary April 23, with a grand fleet review. Ten countries, including India, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam, will deploy 20 vessels to join a naval parade.
‘INS Kolkata’, which is the first of a new class of three destroyers built by India, is accompanied by tanker ‘INS Shakti’, a fleet support ship, to take part in the event.
However, PLAN’s naval fleet review will be held without the ships from its closest ally Pakistan. Though there is no official announcement, official sources told this agency that no Pakistan ships are expected to take part in the fleet review because of Indian participation. Instead, Pakistan navy will be represented by a high-level delegation at the Qingdao celebrations, April 21-26.
Besides being an all-weather ally of China, Pakistan is the biggest procurer of Chinese weapons systems. China is currently building four most advanced naval frigates for Pakistan.
‘INS Kolkata’ is commanded by Captain Aditya Hara. It is equipped with the latest weapons including the supersonic Brahmos missiles and sensors. It is capable of simultaneously engaging multiple threats from the air, sea and underwater.
‘INS Shakti’ is commanded by Captain Sriram Amur and its role is to provide fuel, provisions and munitions to warships whilst underway at sea.
Both ships are capable of operating large helicopters for tasks such as anti-submarine warfare and search and rescue.
Observers say international naval fleet reviews are generally meant for showcasing each country’s modern naval ships. For its part, China which is expanding its Navy to increase its strategic presence around the world will deploy its modern ships including an aircraft carrier.
The first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, and latest nuclear submarines, destroyers and fighter jets will be among the 32 Chinese vessels and 39 warplanes to be displayed in the parade, PLAN’s senior officer Qiu Yanpeng told a press conference Saturday at Qingdao. “Some vessels will make their debut for the first time,” he added.