Indian warship on goodwill visit to Israel

Harinder Mishra, Press Trust Of India, Hindustan Times, June 1, 2009

India's front line warship of the Sword Arm Western Fleet, INS Brahmaputra, is on a four-day goodwill visit to this northern coastal city to re-affirm old ties with Israel.

"The visit shows the importance India attaches to its relationship with Israel. Not only that, it is also fitted with the 'state of the art' Barak defence missile system as the first line of defence supplied by it", commander of the warship, Captain Philipose G Pynumootil, said while addressing a gathering on the ship.

"The enthusiasm clearly shows that the Indian ship is in friendly waters. It is not only in Israel but a part of it is also Israeli", India's Ambassador to Israel, Navtej Sarna, said referring to the Barak defence missile system on the warship.

Navy officials on board the ship told PTI that Indian warships have regularly paid visits to ports in the West Asia and East Africa reaffirming their peaceful presence and solidarity with countries in the region. Among those gathered to see the Indian ship was a former commander of the old INS Brahmaputra, Jack Japheth, who is now an Israeli citizen settled in Tel Aviv after retirement.

Dressed in Indian Navy uniform, the 93-year-old former naval officer drew huge applause from the audience when he sang a hit patriotic number from a Raj Kapoor film. INS Brahmaputra, one of Indian Navy's finest guided missile frigates, arrived here from Eritrea and will leave for Naples on June 2.

The warship boasts versatile suite of long range sensors, incorporating radars, sonars and electronic warfare equipment that enable her to simultaneously address threats in all three dimensions--surface, sub-surface and air. When called upon, she can bring to bear awesome offensive or defensive firepower, with her wide-ranging 'top of the line' ordnance.

It has been deployed on humanitarian aid and disaster relief missions on several occasions, including the tsunami relief operations in December 2004 and the Operation Sukoon during the Lebanon crisis in July 2006.

Soon after the tsunami wreaked havoc, INS Brahmaputra made a dash to Campbell Bay in the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands dropping 18 tonnes of relief material, bringing succour to the unfortunate personnel who had lost their home and hearth to the fury of nature.

During the Lebanon crisis, the ship as part of the Indian Naval Flotilla played a stellar role in evacuating over 2280 Indian and SAARC nationals.

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