The Indian Navy offshore patrol ship, INS Sumedha is the latest Indian naval ship to pay an official visit to Nigeria.
The visit starting on 13 October was said to improve bilateral relations and security in the Gulf of Guinea.
The visit by the patrol ship was aimed to further strengthen diplomatic relations, reinforce maritime co-operation, and boost interoperability between the two navies, the Indian Navy said in an official statement.
This is the Indian Navy’s second deployment to the piracy-prone Gulf of Guinea (GoG) after the maiden GoG patrol was undertaken by INS Tarkash in October 2022. The Indian Navy says it aims to partner with regional countries in combating piracy and ensuring secure seas for unimpeded trade.
According to the Nigerian Navy’s Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Mustapha Hassan, the visits by the Indian Navy also served to improve friendship, cooperation and interoperability between the two countries.
Admiral Hassan noted this while welcoming the crew of INS Sumedha to the Western Naval Command Headquarters, Apapa, Lagos State.
The visits, he said, aligned with the vision of the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, towards improving security in Nigeria’s maritime domain.
“The Nigerian Navy, in particular, has had a good relationship with the Indian Navy in terms of training support, hardware exchanges, port visits and exercises.
“The collaboration between the two countries is good for enhancing national security and, in this case, security in the Gulf of Guinea.”
India’s Defence Attachè to Nigeria, Colonel Romi Singh Legha, said the Nigerian Navy, in particular, along with other navies in the region, has been instrumental in controlling piracy in the last two years.
“To further this success, the INS Sumedha has joined to help in this operation which the Nigerian Navy is carrying out,” he said.
INS Sumedha was launched at Goa Shipyard on 21 May 2011, and was handed over to the Indian Navy on 11 March 2014. Sumedha was the third ship of the indigenous Saryu-class Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel (NOPV) Project to be included into the Indian Navy.
The ship’s weapon system includes a SRGM 76.2 mm gun, close in weapon systems, latest navigational and early warning radar, and chaff launching system for self protection.
The vessel has two rigid inflatable fast motor boats and the capability of carrying a helicopter.
The ship’s company is made up of 9 officers and 105 sailors.