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Indian navy ‘looks East’ to Cambodia

In a bid to further expand its strategic relationships with the countries of Southeast Asia, India has sent a group of warships to Cambodia and Thailand, the country’s ambassador to the Kingdom confirmed yesterday.

According to a press release issued by the Indian navy, the four-day visit is part of India’s “Look East” policy.

The country sent two ships – the INS Ranvir, a guided missile destroyer, and the INS Kamorta, a submarine corvette – which entered Sihanoukville on Tuesday. Two others entered Sattahip, Thailand, the same day.

“It’s a training and medical exercise,” Indian Ambassador Dinesh Patnaik said yesterday.

“[Cambodia has] a navy, but because they don’t have much experience on warships, the training is to familiarise them with warships.”

Patnaik also said about 500 Indian seamen joined the mission and will perform different operations with the Cambodian navy, including ship-docking exercises and emergency medical drills.

“It’s part of just going to other countries and developing contacts,” he said. “It’s a goodwill mission.”

Patnaik denied that the exercise was in any way meant to counter China’s influence in the region.

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