Bandar Seri Begawan - Ins Sudarshini, the sail training ship from India, docked at Muara Port at 9.30am yesterday in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue partnership. The sail training ship will be in the country for three days until November 24. The ship sailing from Manado, Indonesia arrived in Brunei yesterday after a eight-day journey.
A press briefing was held yesterday on board the ship chaired by LD Ralte, High Commissioner of India to Brunei Darussalam, and Commander N Shyam Sundar, Commanding Officer of INS Sudarshini.
The sail ship has 74 people on board comprising eight officers, 34 sailors and 32 cadets, said Commander N Shyam Sundar.
"As the leader I am privileged and honoured to make a port of call in Brunei and we are very happy to visit the country," he said.
The ship, which is on a goodwill visit to Asean countries, will be leaving Brunei November 24 for its next port of call in Cebu, Philippines. The Asean Expedition carries the theme of the summit "Partnership for Peace and Prosperity", said the High Commissioner.
Mr Ralte said, "We are much honoured as our sail ship has come again to Brunei waters after about 100 years. It has created an historic moment, which reflects the India-Brunei relationship.
"You all know ... yesterday Brunei took over the gavel from Cambodia to be the Chairman of Asean Summit next year. So, we look forward to the relationship and for us it is important because this year three Brunei ministers visited India and Indian ministers visited Brunei. So the impact can already be seen such as the Asean-India Network of Think Tanks (AINTT) meeting and the Asean-India Eminent Persons Group has come out with a paper for the consideration of the summit.
"On November 24,I will be joining some of the Brunei officials for the 2nd edition of the Asean-India car rally, which will kick-off from Yogyakarta, Indonesia on November 26. The rally is expected to reachIndiaduringthespecialAsean-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi in the third week of December. The rally is held to celebrate the 20th anniversary ofAsean-India relationship," he said.
"His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam and heads of state of other Asean countries will be attending the event. Before the summit there will be a performance, whereby Brunei will also be sending a team," he said.
"We will be having an art exhibition at the Waterfront Gallery in the capital from December 7 to 13. Two Brunei artists will be joining the exhibition. Altogether 25 artists from Asean member countries and India will participate in the event," he added.
Mr Ralte said on Friday November 23 the ship will be open to the public, whereby the public can come on board from 10.30am until 5pm. It is an opportunity for everybody to come and see for themselves how our forefathers had difficulties sailing in the sea during the olden days.
The Commander N Shyam Sundar said the open ship is an opportunity for people-to-people contact.
The expedition will cover a distance of 12,607 nautical miles, 127 days at sea and visiting nine countries and 13 ports. They are expected to arrive in India on March 29 next year after almost 61/2 months' journey.
"I am very happy that two Brunei Navy officers will be joining us as we sail from Brunei to Cebu. This is to encourage navy-tonavy relationship and also to help them mingle with each other to further enhance the relationship," said the Commander.
Mr Ralte said, "They will gain a lot because the ship is a sail training ship. The navy is training its cadets to sail like in the olden days and use the original technique in the sea, which is wind. This will give them the basic training and experience. So, we hope that all these fields will further improve the relations between India and Brunei and Asean.
"We are happy and proud of the ship because the ship was made in India. It is a new ship. We hope that the local people will visit the ship which is one aspect of the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Asean-India dialogue partnership," he added.
During their stay, the crew will be visiting places of interests in Brunei and more importantly will call on the Commander of RBAF and Commander of RBN. There will be also be discussions between both the navies.
INS Sudarshini is the latest sail training ship of the Indian Navy. The ship was designed by famous naval architect Colin Mudie of UK and built at Goa Shipyard Limited.
The ship is 54m long and 8.5m wide with a displacement of 517 tonnes. INS Sudarshini has been named after the Sanskrit word "Sudarshini' meaning "A beautiful lady".
One of the Royal Brunei Navy officers, Lieutenant Mohd Khairul Anuar, said, he was looking forward to joining the sail. "I am happy to be selected. This is my first sail and I will sail with them until Cebu, Philippines."
--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin