Kochi: Indian Navy’s Marine Acoustic Research Ship (MARS), INS Sagardhwani of the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) set sail from here for a scientific venture called ‘Marine and Allied Interdisciplinary Training and Research Initiative (MAITRI).’
The ship was jointly flagged off by Vice Admiral A.K. Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Southern Naval Command (SNC) and Dr. G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary, Department of Defence R& D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
The ship would be visiting Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia and interacting and initiating collaborative research programmes with selected institutes in these countries as part of the present SAGAR MAITRI Track-2.
The ship’s mission which was conceptualized by DRDO, is in consonance with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Safety And Growth of All in the Region (SAGAR)’ to promote closer cooperation in socio-economic aspects, as well as greater scientific interaction, especially in ocean research in underwater acoustics, among Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries.
The mission by the Indian Navy and NPOL is a step towards enhancing this research and strengthening relationships with South East Asian countries and is therefore being termed as SAGAR MAITRI. The prime objectives of the SAGAR MAITRI mission are data collection from the entire North Indian Ocean, focusing on the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and establishing long term collaboration with eight IOR countries in the field of ‘Ocean Research and Development’.
INS Sagardhwani was built indigenously by M/s GRSE Ltd, Kolkata and commissioned on July 30, 1994. During the last 25 years, the ship has carried out intensive oceanographic observational programmes and research.