- Mar 28, 2016
Two warships of the Western Fleet were scrambled from Mumbai on Friday after Pakistani naval vessels were detected close to Indian territorial waters. This happened hours after the stealth frigate INS Tarkash came in contact with Pakistani warships in international waters. INS Tarkash is one of three Indian warships that called on ports in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently in a show of cooperation and friendship.
"The INS Delhi, INS Deepak and INS Tarkash berthed at several ports in the UAE including Dubai, Bahrain and Muscat.
Meetings were also held between senior officers of the Indian and UAE navies. While the Indian ships were in the UAE, Indian defence minister Manohar Parrikar also paid a visit to the Emirates and held talks with officials there. On the way back, while INS Delhi and INS Deepak headed straight for base, INS Tarkash took a slightly roundabout route. While sailing in international waters close to a fleet of Pakistani warships and was asked to back off," a source in the Navy said.
In naval parlance, this act by the INS Tarkash is called "fingering". The stealth frigate is an upgraded version of the Talwar class of ships and was commissioned in the Navy in 2012. Built in Russia, the INS Tarkash has state-of-the-art sensors and communications equipment and is BrahMos missile capable. Any country is bound to get jittery if it detects such a lethal platform close to its territorial waters. For the Navy, this is an opportunity to check on the ship's stealth and other capabilities.
"This is sort of a cat and mouse game. The Pakistani warships may have followed INS Tarkash as she headed back towards Mumbai. The Pakistani ships were picked up as they approached Indian territorial waters and the two warships set off from Mumbai to herd them off, should they get too close. All countries engage in such prowling close to the territorial waters of neighbours. We keep on getting similar contacts from Chinese warships in the Bay of Bengal," the source added.
Pakistan is certainly aware that the INS Tarkash was part of the three-ship team that visited the UAE. Good ties — both military and otherwise — with the UAE are sought after by India as well as Pakistan. While Pakistan had enjoyed good relations with the Emirates in the past, India's ties with the UAE were strengthened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in 2015.