Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tamil Nadu , Puducherry Get New Naval-in-Charge

Commodore Alok Bhatnagar has taken over as the Naval Officer-in-Charge (Tamilnadu & Puducherry) on 30 Jun 2015 from Commodore Amar K Mahadevan on his superannuation, at a ceremonial parade conducted at INS Adyar, Navy Office, Chennai. The Commodore, prior to his appointment was serving as Principal Director International Fleet Review   (PD IFR) at Integrated Headquarters Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi. During his distinguished career of 30 years, he has served on various ships and shore establishments.

A first generation Naval Officer Commodore Alok Bhatnagar is an alumnus of the 66th Course of the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasla, having graduated in May 1984.

At sea, the officer has served on 14 different ships in various capacities, including appointments as Navigating Officer, Executive Officer and Commanding Officer. As the Navigating Officer, he was posted on Indian Navy Ships Cannanore (as Commissioning Crew in erstwhile USSR), Betwa, Veer, Suvarna and Ranvir. He was the Executive Officer of the Kashin Class Destroyer INS Rana. The officer has commanded IN TRV A 71 (a Torpedo Recovery Vessel), INS Prahar (an indigenously built Missile Boat), INS Kulish (an indigenously built Missile Corvette) and INS Jalashwa (a Landing Platform Dock).

Some of his major shore appointments include Director Naval Plans at IHQ MoD (Navy), Naval Attache in Washington DC and Principal Director International Fleet Review at IHQ MoD (Navy), New Delhi.

Commodore Alok Bhatnagar, a specialist in Navigation and Direction, is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the College of Naval Warfare, Karanja. He was commended by the Chief of the Naval Staff in 2002 and awarded Nao Sena Medal for Devotion to Duty in 2010.
Commodore Bhatnagar, a keen golfer and yachtsman, is married and has two sons.

Three Indian Navy Follow-On Water Jet Fast Attack Craft Launched Today At GRSE Kolkata

Three Follow-on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft (FO-WJFAC) for the Indian Navy were launched today at Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata by Smt Medha Murugesan, wife of Vice Admiral P Murugesan, AVSM, VSM, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff. 

In accordance with the traditions, invocations from Atharva Veda were recited and Smt Medha Murugesan applied ‘Kumkum’ on all three ships and named these ships as ‘INS Tarmugli’, ‘INS Tilanchang’ & ‘INS Tihayu’. She wished the ships good luck and launched the vessels. The names of the ships are based on picturesque places in the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal. 

Vice Admiral P Murugesan, Vice Chief of the Naval Staff, who was the Chief Guest during the occasion, asserted that Indian Navy has been the torch bearer in the drive for indigenous construction of warships and acknowledged the role of GRSE as a reliable partner in pursuing the national goal of ‘Make in India’. He extended warm felicitations to the entire team of the GRSE for their significant contribution towards meeting the Navy’s growing requirement of state-of- the art warships. 

These follow on Water Jet Fast Attack Craft are powered by the latest 4000-series of MTU engines, along with advanced machinery control system and water jets and can attain a maximum speed of 35 Knots. The craft would also have the latest communication equipment and radars which would enable effective surveillance. These follow on ships have higher power generating capacity of 280 kW, enhanced capacity of RO plant from 2 TPD to 4 TPD among many other features as compared to the Water Jet Fast Attack Craft already in service. The indigenous CRN 91 Gun with Optronic Pedestal gives them the requisite firepower to undertake their basic role of patrolling effectively. Two of these ships are scheduled to be delivered to the Indian Navy in this year. 

Launching of FO-WJFACs Yard 2109, 2110 and 2111 (out of the four contracted), designed in-house, and built by GRSE, Kolkata for the Indian Navy is yet another milestone in India’s quest for self-reliance in shipbuilding 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Search For Missing Coast Guard Dornier Continues After 19 Days

Coast Guard continues with its search "Operation Talash" for the 19th day today, to locate the missing ICG Aircraft. A total of 205 hours have been flown so far by ICG and IN aircraft towards the search, in addition to the surface efforts.

The state of the art Multifunctional Support Vessel (MSV) 'Olympic Canyon' with integrated Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) carried out seabed search in the most probable area till 23 Jun 15, however no significant lead could be established. The vessel has departed area and resumed normal operations. 

Indian Naval Submarine, INS Sindhudhwaj resumed operations to locate the missing aircraft based upon the fresh inputs provided by the Naval Operations Data Analysis Centre (NODPAC) regarding seabed conditions. In addition the ICG and IN ships and aircraft continue to search for the debris/ float sum of the missing aircraft.

The families of the missing crew are being provided with regular updates about the ongoing search efforts. 

INS Teg Reaches Seychelles For National Day Celebrations

India has a strong and longstanding relationship with Seychelles of which defence cooperation is a very significant component. The defence cooperation between the two nations includes cooperation in the field of Training, Hydrography and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA). India has also provided a Fast Attack Craft and Dornier aircraft to Seychelles as part of its capability development programme.

INS Teg, a stealth frigate of the Indian Navy is currently on a two-month long deployment in the South Indian Ocean with an aim to provide surveillance support in the region. This is in keeping with India's national objective of ensuring a secure and stable regional environment to allow unhindered economic and social development, not just in India, but also in the entire Indian Ocean Region. The Indian Navy, while shouldering its security responsibilities, is committed to these objectives and has been contributing in capacity building and capability enhancement of friendly foreign countries, as and when requested by them. 

The ship reached  Port Victoria today and will be there from 26 Jun to 09 Jul 15 as part of its mission to carry out joint EEZ surveillance in the Seychellois EEZ in areas selected by Seychelles Coast Guard, with SCG personnel embarked onboard. The ship is also carrying items required for maintenance of SCG ships. A technical team of the ship will be providing necessary assistance for minor defect rectification on various SCG ships. Additionally, the ship's team would visit the Missionaries of Charity Old Age Home at Anse Etoile to interact with the inmates as well as provide medical support and other assistance.

The visit of INS Teg coincides with Seychelles' National Day celebrations on 29 Jun 15, in which a 25-man marching contingent and Naval Band embarked from the warship will participate in the prestigious annual military parade. The ship's integral helicopter will also undertake a fly-past during the event. This deployment adds another chapter to the strong defence and maritime cooperation between India and Seychelles.

INS Teg is a state-of-the-art guided missile frigate of the Indian Navy and is based at Mumbai. With a displacement of 4000 tons and speed of 30 knots, she is armed with the latest weapons and is capable of accomplishing a wide variety of missions. At the helm of the ship is the Commanding Officer, Captain AY Sardesai who is assisted by a team of professional and highly motivated men of the Indian Navy.

Indian Navy Seaking Rescues Merchant Vessel Crew

In yet another dramatic life-saving mission, Indian Navy and Coast Guard undertook a difficult rescue operation off the Coast of Umargam, in which a total of 14 crew from ill-fated vessel MV Coastal Pride were safely evacuated by helicopters of the Navy and Coast Guard.

At about 07:00 AM, on 24 June 15, a distress call for evacuation of 14 crew members, from an anchored vessel MV Coastal Pride was received at Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC (MB)) from Director General Shipping communication centre in Mumbai. The vessel, which had earlier reported complete engine breakdown, had anchored off Umargam, which is 150 kms North of Mumbai and 15 kms from the coast.  Promptly reacting to the situation the vessel, which had been constantly monitored by the Navy and the Coast Guard, was contacted on radio. It was ascertained that due to extremely bad weather, the vessel was slowly tilting and rolling vigorously. The Captain also requested for evacuating its crew.

Braving the extremely bad weather coupled with incessant rains, Coast Guard Chetak helicopter was launched from Air Station Daman at 07:40 A.M.  A Naval Seaking helicopter was also immediately launched around the same time from Mumbai to assist in rescue mission.  Upon reaching the vessel, the Coast Guard Chetak initially winched up six survivors in two trips and dropped them to Umargam beach, which is the closest land.  In the meantime when the Chetak was returning for the third rescue trip, the ship capsized at about 08:45 AM.  Thereafter the Seaking from the Indian Navy and Chetak from, the Coast Guard picked up the remaining survivors (six by Seaking and two by Chetak) from the water.  All 14 survivors from the ill-fated vessel were evacuated to Umargam beach.  The rescue of the crew from the ship has been most dramatic and showcased the heroic courage of the helicopter crews of the Navy and Coast Guard in carrying out rescue operations in extremely strong wind conditions, very rough seas and poor visibility.

The actual problem for the vessel started on 22 Jun15, when on a routine surveillance CG Dornier contacted MV Coastal Pride, a 78 M Cargo vessel was monitored and on 23 Jun 15, on losing all machinery, the vessel was directed to drop anchor.  Since 23 Jun 15, the owner of the vessel had been arranging for a tug to tow the vessel.  However, the hired Tug could not sail on due to inclement weather conditions on 23 Jun 15.

Indian Coast Guard Intercept Suspected Vessel, Off Gujarat, Recover Contraband

On 18 Jun 15, an intelligence input was received through ICG Station at Okha about movement of a suspicious dhow MSV Safina Al Meraj (BDI-1331). The dhow was reported to have left Sharjah and was to arrive Salaya, Jamnagar on 19/20 Jun with suspected contraband onboard.

On receipt of information, ICG units in the Gulf of Kachchh Region were alerted and continued sea presence, despite adverse weather conditions, was maintained. On the night of 18/19/20 Jun, a number of dhows entering Gulf of Kachchh were boarded and investigated. Considering the sensitivity, the co-ordination for the operation was centralized at the Coast Guard Regional Headquarters (North-West), Gandhinagar. VTS Gulf of Kachchh and other stakeholders were informed and actions were duly coordinated.

Notwithstanding the development of cyclonic depression, ICG ships continued for the lookout for the suspected vessel. On the early morning of 25 Jun at about 0630 hrs, ICG Ship Sangram, which was on patrol, intercepted the suspected dhow.

On boarding and initial investigation, it was revealed that the dhow had sustained some damage and there was continuous ingress of water. From the safety point, the dhow was thus escorted to Salaya harbour. In the meantime, a joint ICG team from Okha and Vadinar was dispatched for Salaya to augment and fasten the initial rummaging ashore. 

The joint rummaging involving the intelligence and law enforcement agencies at Salaya has been carried out todate, 25 Jun 15. During the process following contraband have been recovered:

          (a)     02 Cartons of Davidoff (Each containing 10,000 cigarettes)

          (b)     50 Cartons of Gudang Garam (Each containing 14,400 


          (c )    Two Thuraya Sets

The master of Dhow is Mr Asan Ibrahim Subaniya and there are 09 crew onboard. Further rummaging is in progress. It is planned to handover the vessel to DRI at Salaya, Gujarat for further investigation process.

The operation once again has brought to the fore the effectiveness and efficacy of the joint mechanism in place and the ability of the ICG to coordinate the efforts of the agencies concerned towards successful interdiction and providing security as desired. 

A few of the photographs of the boarding operation and interdiction are attached/ enclosed. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

IAF Mi-17 V5 s Pressed Into Service For Update on Gujarat Flood Relief

Floods caused due to heavy rains in Gujarat have caused large scale submergence of low lying areas. The worst affected areas of Gavadka and Khari villages of Amreli district witnessed people being rescued by 2 x Mi-17V5 helicopters. On 24 Jun 2015, the two helicopters flew for 07 hours evacuating 87 people and air dropped 120 Kgs of food packets. 

Today, the Air Force has put 4 x Mi-17 V5 helicopters into service for rescue and relief operations in Amreli. Two additional helicopters are on standby at Jamnagar in case there is a need to step up operations. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Indian Naval Ships Enter Sihanoukville, Cambodia & Sattahip, Thailand

In pursuit of India’s ‘Look East’ and ‘Act East’ policy, the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet ships under the command of Rear Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, VSM, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet (FOCEF), are on a two month long operational deployment to South East Asia and Southern Indian Ocean. 

As part of the deployment, two of the Indian warships, INS Ranvir (a Guided Missile Destroyer) and INS Kamorta (an indigenously built Anti Submarine Corvette) entered Sihanoukville, Cambodia and the other two warships including INS Satpura, an indigenously built guided missile stealth frigate and INS Shakti, a sophisticated fleet tanker and support ship, entered Sattahip, Thailand today on a four day visit respectively. The previous visit by an Indian Naval ship to Thailand was in Jun 10. 

The visit is aimed at strengthening bilateral ties between the two countries as well as fostering inter-operability between the navies of these two friendly nations. 

These ships are on the return leg after a 45 day deployment. During the stay in harbour, various activities such as official calls, professional interaction between personnel of both the navies, reception onboard and ship visits have been planned. On departure from Sihanoukville, INS Ranvir & INS Kamorta will exercise with the Cambodian Navy for enhancing interoperability in Maritime Operations including Search and Rescue. These ships have visited Singapore, Jakarta (Indonesia), Freemantle (Australia) and Kuantan (Malaysia) during deployment. During this deployment two warships also participated in the bilateral exercise SIMBEX-15 with the Royal Singapore Navy from 20-26 May 15. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Indian Navy's Seaking Helicopter Rescues Crew Of Drifting MV Jindal Kamakshi

In a major Search & Rescue operation 44 n miles North West of Mumbai harbour, Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (Mumbai) coordinated the recovery of 20 crew members from a general cargo carrier 'MV Jindal Kamakshi' in the wee hours of 22 Jun. The vessel was dangerously listing to left by about 20 degrees as she encountered very rough seas while on passage from Mundra to Kochi. The ship raised distress alarm on the midnight of 21/22 Jun. Immediately on receipt of the distress, MRCC (MB) alerted vessels in vicinity of the area to render assistance. MV Seamac-1 and Samudra Prabha responded to the request and were diverted along with Coast Guard Ship Samrat to render assistance.

While initially, the Master did not seek evacuation of the crew, he requested for the evacuation of the crew on early morning of 22 Jun. Accordingly, for early evacuation of the crew, Indian Navy was requested to deploy a Seaking helicopter. Subsequent rescue operations resulted in evacuation of 20 crew members, 19 crew by Naval helicopter and 01 crew by Coast Guard helicopter. The vessel is presently anchored off Mumbai and unmanned. 

The vessel is having 72 Tonnes of heavy oil and 14 Tonnes of diesel oil onboard. DG Shipping has been requested to mobilize Emergency Towing Vessel (ETV) for rendering assistance. Meanwhile the owner/ master is being advised to take necessary action to prevent escape of oil from the vessel. The situation is being closely monitored for any further development.

NCC Creates Record On International Day Of Yoga

National Cadet Corps (NCC), the premier youth organisation of the nation created a record for the largest yoga performance simultaneously at multiple venues by a single uniformed youth organization, yesterday. 

The cadets performed the asanas as per the protocol given by the Ministry of Ayush from 0700 am to 0735 am at all venues including Rajpath in New Delhi. The performance of yoga by more than 9,50,000 NCC cadets on International Day of Yoga was conducted pan India at 1804 venues, including Leh in the North, Dwarka in the West, Tezu (Arunachal Pradesh) in the East, Nagarcoil (Kanyakumari) in the South and in the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, which was a phenomenal achievement by itself. 

The NCC has been at the forefront of ‘NATION BUILDING’ by grooming the youth into disciplined citizens. It has been conducting social awareness and community development programmes and adventure activities aimed at all-round development of its cadets. This unique record on the ‘International Day of Yoga’ has added another feather to the cap of this youth organisation. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Indian Coast Guard Celebrates International Day Of Yoga

The International Yoga day was celebrated by the Indian Coast Guard  in a befitting manner.  In addition to the participation by the Indian Coast Guard at Rajpath,  approx  700 personnel participated in the event which was held at Coast Guard Republic Day Ground sector 24 Noida. The participants included personnel and families of Indian Coast Guard, The Noida Administration, The Noida Police, Employees of HCL, Adobe and Institute Footwear Design. The Additional Director General Coast Guard alongwith senior officers of the ICG and their families also attended the function.

The Yoga session commenced at 0600 hrs on 21 Jun. The session was demonstrated by teachers of Kaivalyadhama Yoga Institution, which is amongst the oldest institute started in 1917 and established in Lonavla in 1924. It is a pioneer institute in research, training and therapy in Yoga. The program encompassed of  mainly two components viz practice of Pranayama and Dharana asanas. These  asanas are performed for general health, well-being and self awareness. In addition to these asanas, simple pranayama and concentration of the mind was also practiced. The  module was developed by the Ministry of AYUSH, in consultation with all the Yoga institutes in the country.

Defence Minister Participates In International day Of Yoga

The Union Minister for Defence, Shri Manohar Parrikar participates in the International Yoga Day celebrations, at RVC Center Meerut, Uttar Pradesh on June 21, 2015.

Indian Navy Takes To Yoga

Indian Navy joined Prime Minister along with other countrymen and the International community across the globe in wholeheartedly celeberating the first International Yoga Day on 21 Jun 15. Reports of celeberations have been pouring in from various Naval Units and the Ships at sea. The enthusiasm of day is depicted in various photographs published below:-

Onboard INS Viraat

Onboard INS Kamorta

Onboard INS Shakti

IMSC, Western Naval Command, Colaba Mumbai

INS Betwa

INS Satpura

INS Ranvir

INS Sunayna

Naval Premises Delhi

“Yoga Aross the Oceans” - International Yoga Day Observed Throughout Indian Navy 

The strength of the Indian Navy is its highly motivated, disciplined and well trained personnel who are ever-ready to serve the nation even in the most demanding situations. Naval personnel sail onboard ships and submarines at sea for extended durations in challenging conditions. This inevitably leads to physical and mental stress, which gets compounded due to the prolonged separation from their families during operational deployments. The challenge gets accentuated as naval personnel onboard warships and submarines at sea do not have the luxury of open space and equipment to perform regular physical fitness activities. The Indian Navy, therefore, pays special emphasis on the physical well being and mental alertness of its personnel. 

The human system is a seamless blend of body, mind and spirit. It is a well documented fact that Yoga is a science of well being, youthfulness which integrates the mind, body and soul and a few minutes of Yoga on a daily basis helps increase the energy levels and uplifts the spirit. Conduct of Yoga, in addition to improving the immunity of a person, also enhances mind-body coordination, thereby resulting in a higher degree of concentration, which is of utmost importance for men in uniform. Consequently, Yoga forms an integral part of daily physical training at sea. Physical Training Instructors (PTIs) in the Indian Navy are imparted training in both the practice and teaching of Yoga and are appointed to every ship and submarine at sea. The PTIs oversee the daily conduct of physical training onboard ships, including Yoga, which has gained tremendously in popularity over the years. 

Recognising the benefits of Yoga, the Indian Navy has declared ‘Yoga across the Oceans’ as its theme for the first International Yoga Day and various benefits of Yoga were amply demonstrated by the conduct of Yoga onboard all Indian Naval ships deployed from the South China Sea in the East to the Mediterranean Sea in the this morning. 

Indian Navy has worked very proactively for the success of the International Yoga Day Celebration on 21 Jun 15and for imbibing the Yoga culture amongst its personnel. Multi-focal activities were organised for the benefit of all personnel and their families across all the naval stations and units including onboard ships and submarines. 

In New Delhi, a week long Yoga camp was held from 14 -21 Jun 15 at INS India and residential area of naval families. Similar exercise was also carried out in all other naval stations spread across the country. In addition to the various Yoga camps, a Yoga workshop was conducted on 19th Jun 15 for the naval personnel along with their families and children. The workshop witnessed participation by personnel from all age groups including the Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral RK Dhowan. During his interaction with the media after the yoga workshop, the Naval Chief highlighted the importance of yoga for the well-being of naval personnel as the life at sea is very challenging and stressful. He also said that the Indian Navy is actively involved in spreading the message about Yoga and its benefits throughout the globe. 

A workshop on Healthy Living and Lifestyle Diseases was also inaugurated by Mrs Minu Dhowan at Nau Sena Bagh, Chanakyapuri which stressed upon the physical and mental benefits of yoga and its role in curtailing lifestyle diseases.

International Yoga Day Celebrations at Eastern Naval Command

The Eastern Naval Command observed the first International Day of Yoga by initiating multiple activities to introduce the practice of Yoga to its community and enable naval personnel accrue maximum benefit from it. The aim of these activities was to encourage naval personnel to translate the practice of Yoga into a way of life, with the overall intent of enabling them and their families achieve harmony among mind, body, emotion and energy and lead healthy and happy lives.

On Sunday, the 21st June 15, a Mass Yoga was organsied at INS Circars, where in more than 250 Naval personnel including families enthusiastically participated.  On completion of the Yoga session, participants were advised to take up Yoga on regular basis as part of their daily routine.    

As a run up to the International Yoga day, the naval units under the Eastern Naval Command were sensitised to the conduct and significance of the first International Day of Yoga. Other events conducted were daily Yoga sessions for a large number of naval personnel from the fleet last one week. Yoga picnic, environmental Yoga and Yoga Walk was also conducted for the naval families.  To encourage children of all ages to be part of the event, painting and drawing competitions was organised at naval schools. In the sidelines of the International Yoga Day, a stress management camp was also conducted for the naval personnel on Friday, 19 June 2015.

Another highlight of the event include a Yoga session onboard French Naval Ship Dixmude under the supervision of a qualified Yoga instructor, a member of the naval community at Visakhapatnam.  The French Naval Ships Dixmude (Landing Platform Dock) and Aconit (Frigate) are on a goodwill visit at Visakhapatnam from 16 June 2015.