The Indian Navy has deployed a guided missile frigate to Mauritius to carry out combined maritime surveillance patrols of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)with the Mauritian air force and coastguard.
The INS Teg stealth frigate carries a Chetak helicopter, which makes it suitable for surveillance and anti-piracy patrols in coastal and remote island regions.
The mission also includes the provision of security and free medical services to people living in the three remote northern islands of Agalega, Rodrigues and St Brandon. In a press statement detailing the deployment, the Indian Navy said the INS Teg will undertake a two month long mission with two ports of call at the Mauritian capital St Louis.
The first port of call will run from July 13-17 while the second visit will be held between July 23 and 26. The navy said the deployment is in line with “India’s national objective of ensuring a stable regional environment and unhindered economic and social development” in the Southern Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
“During the deployment, the ship will undertake joint patrolling and surveillance operations with the Mauritian National Coast Guard ships. The joint patrolling is aimed at preventing piracy and illegal fishing and would help reinforce maritime security in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Mauritius,” said an Indian Navy statement.
While on the mission, the ship will also operate free medical camps for people in the outer islands of Agalega, Rodrigues and St Brandon. It will also render expert technical assistance for the maintenance of communication and hydrographic survey equipment located on the outer islands.
“With this deployment, the Indian Navy and the National Coast Guard (of Mauritius) would have undertaken more than 550 days of tailor-made dedicated joint EEZ surveillance which has proven to be a deterrent against piracy and illegal fishing in Mauritian waters,” the statement said.
The INS Teg has previously participated in anti-piracy maritime security operations off the coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. It is the 18th Indian Navy ship undertaking dedicated EEZ Surveillance in Mauritius since 2009.
India has in the past built and supplied several naval patrol vessels for the Mauritius Coast Guard and provided aircraft for the Mauritian Air Force. In March this year, India donated a 1 300 tonne warship to the Mauritius Coast Guard, the Barracuda.
At least 10 new fast attack vessels are being built in Indian for the Mauritius Coast Guard and they will be delivered starting late next year. In addition to training the coast guard, the Indian Navy has also trained the Mauritian air force and donated a number of aircraft to boost its surveillance capabilities over the EEZ.
The two countries are also co-operating in various hydrographic surveys. An Indian Naval Hydrographic team has been stationed in Mauritius since 2013. It is currently conducting surveys aimed at further diversifying the country’s steadily growing ocean-based economy.
Last week, the Indian Navy’s hydrographic operation on the island was extended by five years following a meeting of the inter-governmental hydrographic survey committee, cluster ministers and security service chiefs drawn from the air-forces and coastguards of both countries.
India also maintains a strong strategic presence in the neighbouring Seychelles island and has donated aircraft, naval vessels and runs specialised training programmes for the air force and coastguard.