New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) Underlining their "deep and enduring" relationship growing from strength to strength over the years, India today handed over to the Maldives a Naval Fast Attack Craft to be used for patrolling, policing and search and rescue missions in the vast areas of the sea around the Maldivian chain of islands.
Formally handing over the craft - hitherto known as INS Tillanchang and rechristened Hurawee - at a glittering ceremony held in the port city of Male, the Maldivian capital, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee observed that both countries shared a common perception on global issues of mutual concern. "The prompt transfer of the patrol vessel, after the request was received from the Maldivian government, is just another manifestation of how much we value our relationship with them".
The vessel, handed over to the Coast Guard of Maldivian Security Service, will considerably enhance their capability against illegal poaching and drug trafficking, according to reports received here.
Named after an island in the Nicobar group, INS Tillanchang is built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers, Kolkata.
Commissioned in 2001, the ship has rendered yoeman service to the Indian Navy while based at Port Blair in the tri-services Andaman and Nicobar command. The craft is capable of attaining a top speed of 26 knots and has an endurance of over 7 days, covering a distance of approximately 2000 nautical miles.
The handing-over ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries including Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Defence Minister Ismail Shaifeeu, Foreign Minister Abdul Shaheed, and senior officials from the Indian Ministry of Defence and Indian Navy besides members of the diplomatic corps.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Mukherjee expressed India's willingness to extend "any assistance" that would promote peace and security in the Indian Ocean region, which he described as "a prime prerequisite for ushering development and prosperity in this part of the world".
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