Two Indian naval vessels departed Cambodia on May 14 following a four-day goodwill visit to Sihanoukville Autonomous Port.

The General Secretariat of the National Committee for Maritime Security said the visit aimed to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries, and featured friendly sports matches and joint exercises at sea.

The Indian naval detachment was commanded by Rear Admiral Gurcharan Singh, the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet.

The INS Delhi, a guided missile destroyer, is skippered by Admiral Shiraz Husain Azad and is almost 170m long, with a crew of 450. The INS Satpura is captained by Admiral Kartik Murthy. A multi-purpose stealth frigate of 143m in length, it carries 395 crew.

Both vessels carry a wide array of weapons and censored, and are capable of carrying helicopters.

The Indian Navy said described the port call as symbolising India’s cordial ties with Cambodia.

“During the visit, personnel from both navies engaged in a wide range of professional interactions, including deck visits and sports exchanges, aimed at enhancing interoperability and mutual understanding,” it added.

“This goodwill visit seeks to consolidate the strong bonds of friendship that exist between the two countries, by strengthening maritime cooperation,” it concluded.

Seng Vanly, a regional political observer, said the visit was part of a wider military cooperation framework between the two countries.

“India attaches importance to Cambodia, both as a member of ASEAN, and because of the modernisation of its international ports. India itself is also expanding its influence and capabilities in maritime security, especially in response to perceived Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific region,” he explained.

“India is a member of the ASEAN plus six bloc, and also has its own strategic autonomy. India’s foreign policy aims to counter China’s influence and boost the importance of ASEAN countries to India,” he added.

He continued that with its Look East policy, India sought to strengthen economic, defence and security cooperation with all ASEAN countries, not just Cambodia. In addition to India, several other nations are attempting to expand their relations with Cambodia, as a member of ASEAN.

Two months ago, on March 7, the Indian Coast Guard vessel ICGS Samudra also docked at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on a six-day goodwill visit.