INS Sagardhwani, an oceanographic research vessel of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, embarked on a two-month-long SAGAR-MAITRI Mission-2 from Southern Naval Command in Kochi on Thursday, officials said.
Sagar Maitri is a unique initiative of the DRDO which aligns with the broad objective of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policy declaration 'Safety And Growth for All in the Region' (SAGAR) to promote closer cooperation in socio-economic aspects as well as greater scientific interaction, especially in ocean research among Indian Ocean Rim (IOR) countries, the Navy said in a statement.
"Oceanographic research vessel of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), INS Sagardhwani, embarked on a two-month-long SAGAR MAITRI (SM) Mission-2 from South Jetty, Southern Naval Command (SNC) in Kochi today," it said.
DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy flagged off the ship in the presence of Vice Admiral Anil K Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has extended his warm wishes for the success of the mission.
INS Sagardhwani, the oceanographic research vessel flagged off today by Dr G Satheesh Reddy, Chairman DRDO & VAdm AK Chawla FOC-in-C (SNC) @indiannavy at Kochi, under SAGAR MAITRI Mission aligning Safety And Growth for All in the Region(SAGAR) policy of @PMOIndia @DefenceMinIndia pic.twitter.com/4zkXGavMfw— DRDO (@DRDO_India) July 18, 2019
"Under the aegis of the PM's policy, specific scientific component of the DRDO is 'MAITRI (Marine & Allied Interdisciplinary Training and Research Initiative)'," the Navy statement said.
INS Sagardhwani has been designed and developed by the Naval Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL), Kochi, a premier systems laboratory of the DRDO.
It conducts ocean research experiments in the Indian waters and spearheads NPOL's at-sea data collection activities, the officials said.
SAGAR MAITRI Mission-2 commemorates the golden jubilee of India's lone research ship INS Kistna's missions as part of the historic International Indian Ocean Expeditions (IIOE), which took place during 1962-65.
"As part of the mission, INS Sagardhwani will revisit the selected tracks of INS Kistna and provide NPOL scientists ample opportunities to collaborate and garner a close working relationship with the oceanographic counterparts of the IOR countries," the statement said.
The prime objectives of the SAGAR MAITRI Mission are data collection from the entire North Indian Ocean, focussing on the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and establishing long-term collaboration with eight IOR countries in the field of ocean research and development, it said.
The other IOR countries include Oman, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Myanmar.
"The programme also aims at establishing long-term scientific collaboration with these countries in the field of 'Ocean Research & Development' and data collection with a focus in the Andaman Sea," the statement said.
Director General (Naval Systems and Materials) Samir V Kamath, Director NPOL, S Vijayan Pillai and other senior officials were also present on the occasion.