Indian frigate INS Tabar today sailed into Portsmouth for a high-profile visit ahead of exercises with the Royal Navy. The 17-year-old frigate – whose name means ‘battleaxe’ in Sanskrit – arrived in the Solent fresh from a few days in Bergen, exercising with the Norwegian Navy. While in Portsmouth, members of the 300-strong ship’s company will pay their respects to World War 1 and 2 fallen, immortalised on the Naval Memorial on Southsea Common. Before their country’s independence in 1947, Indians served with distinction in all theatres of war: at its peak in WW2, the then Royal Indian Navy counted 20,000 personnel.
“I am delighted to be visiting INS Tabar while she is alongside in Portsmouth, and grateful for the opportunity to meet with the High Commissioner. The Royal Navy enjoys a mutually-beneficial relationship with our Indian colleagues, and one which runs deep and is highly valued. Recent engagement – encompassing ten ships and two submarines in the Bay of Bengal is a fantastic example of the level of cooperation between our two nations at sea,” Admiral Kyd said.
And on Sunday the Tabar – as with Indians around the globe – will celebrate the 75th year of their country’s independence from the British Empire. The frigate will ‘dress ship’ – flying a colourful assortment of flags from bow to stern – and is due to hold a reception for dignitaries, led by India’s High Commissioner to the UK, Gaitri Issar Kumar. Also calling on the Tabar while berthed in Portsmouth Naval Base is Fleet Commander Vice Admiral Jerry Kyd to discuss reinforcing the strong bond between the two navies. Both navies regularly exercise together – usually in the Indian Ocean, less frequently around the UK – and with the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region to Britain, such collaboration is likely to increase.
INS Tabar (F44) is the third of the Talwar-class frigate of the Indian Navy. The Talwar-class frigates or Project 11356 are a class of stealth guided missile frigates designed and built by Russia for the Indian Navy. The Talwar-class guided missile frigates are the improved versions of the Krivak III-class (Project 1135) frigates used by the Russian Coast Guard. INS Tabar is a well-equipped warship that has the ability to handle air/surface/sub-surface missions or defending herself operating either independently on maritime missions or supporting a larger naval task force. Designed by Severnoye Design Bureau, the first batch of ships were built by Baltic Shipyard and the second batch by Yantar Shipyard.