Two Indian Navy ships, frigate 'INS Sahyadri' and destroyer 'INS Kolkata' are currently on a goodwill visit to Papua New Guinea and will be berthed at Port Moresby from 2 to 4 August.
Indian community members residing in Papua New Guinea will have the opportunity to visit the ships on 3 August.
The High Commission of India in Port Moresby took to Twitter to share the news, stating, “Indian Naval Ships, INS Sahyadri & INS Kolkata in Port Moresby. Will be open for ship visit for Indian diaspora tomorrow (3rd August, 2023) from 10 am to 2 pm. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this historic visit!”
In another tweet, the Indian High Commission in Port Moresby emphasised the collaborative spirit, saying, “Building bridges between India & PNG Defence forces! INS Sahyadri & INS Kolkata in Port Moresby from Aug 2-4, 2023. Heart-warming to see Indian diaspora’s enthusiastic welcome to our Navy!”
It is noteworthy that INS Sahyadri, under the command of Captain Anil Jaggi and carrying over 200 crew members, had undertaken a goodwill visit to Port Moresby from 12 to 15 June in 2017.
The Indian High Commission also shared insights into official interactions during this visit.
It was reported through a tweet, “Capt Rajan Kapoor (INS Sahyadri), Capt Sharad Sinsunwal (INS Kolkata) called on Cmde Philip Polewara, DCDF with Def Attache Capt Menon & discussed bilateral defence cooperation. They met HC Inbasekar S who also joined Indian community & PNG media during Ship visit in Port Moresby.”
India and Papua New Guinea share a strong bond of warm and friendly relations. These two nations officially established diplomatic ties on 19 May 1976.
India further reinforced its presence by inaugurating its High Commission in Port Moresby in April 1996.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Papua New Guinea. During this trip, PM Modi chaired the 3rd Summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit.
During his visit, PM Modi engaged in bilateral discussions with his counterpart James Marape of Papua New Guinea at Port Moresby.
The leaders deliberated on avenues for cooperation in commerce, technology, healthcare, and jointly tackling climate change. PM Modi also engaged with Papua New Guinea Governor-General Bob Dadae during his stay.
These continuous diplomatic engagements of India with Papua New Guinea comes in the backdrop of Chinese trying to increase their influence in the Pacific.
Just last year, the Chinese signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands to base their troops to the country. This pact will allow the Chinese to keep an eye on the US movements in an event of war with Taiwan, complicating the defence of Taiwan.
The Indian Navy's visit to Papua New Guinea underscores the broader geopolitical context in which these interactions are taking place. As countries like India and Papua New Guinea strengthen their ties through cooperative engagements, it serves as a counterbalance to the growing influence of China in the Pacific.
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