Historic sailing journey for 31 lucky Indian sailors

INS Sudarshini sets off for six-month voyage
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What a sight! ...and what an adventure for a crew of Indian sailors - naval and coastguard cadets - last week. Sail training ship INS Sudarshini has set sail on a historic voyage lasting six months to celebrate India’s two-decade-long partnership with member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Cadets stood on the yardarms as she glided out of Kochi Harbour

The voyage, jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Defence in the build-up to the forthcoming Indo-ASEAN special summit in December, was flagged off by Navy Chief Admiral D.K. Joshi at the Southern Naval Command’s south jetty.

The voyage commemorates 20 years of dialogue partnership and 10 years of summit-level partnership between India and the ASEAN.

In his address, Admiral Joshi termed INS Sudarshini as India’s ‘Ambassador-at-Large’ furthering the common vision of peace and prosperity.

Vice-Admiral Satish Soni, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Naval Command, extolled the virtues of sail training, saying the voyage would give naval and coast guard cadets a ‘sea sense’.

During the expedition covering 12,000 nautical miles, INS Sudarshini will visit 13 ports. Commanded by Commander N. Shyam Sundar, the three-masted barque, the second of the Navy, has a crew of 31 on the current voyage. The ship is slated to return to Kochi on March 29, 2013.

Civilian and naval VIP's were present to wish godspeed to the vessel as it left the south jetty with the first squadron cadets standing on the yard arms of the ship’s masts.