January 25, 2011
A sail training ship built for the Indian Navy was launched at the port city of Vasco da Gama on India’s western coast. This ship was commissioned into the Indian Navy just a little over a year later by K.N. Sushil, a vice admiral of the Indian Navy and the flag officer commanding-in-chief of that military branch’s Southern Naval Command. The ship was formally named Sudarshini in honor of Sundari, the younger half-sister of Buddha. (“Sudarshini” is the Hindu phrase for “beautiful lady Sundari.”)
INS Sudarshini (A77) was designed by Edinburgh-born naval architect Colin Mudie. This three-masted vessel has a total of 20 sails and is 177 feet (54 meters) in length.
Along with being used to provide Indian Navy cadets with sail training experience, Sudarshini has been deployed for several major voyages. The first of these voyages involved tracing an ancient route taken by Indian mariners to Southeast Asia. During the course of this journey of approximately 13,000 nautical miles (24,076 kilometers), Sudarshini visited nine of the countries that form the economic and political union known as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
The ports that Sudarshini and her crew went to as a key part of those visits included Padang, the capital and largest city of the Indonesian province of West Sumatra; Manado, the capital of the Indonesian province of Sulawesi; Manila, the capital of the Philippines; Da Nang, a major port city in Vietnam; Sihanoukville, the capital of the Cambodian province of Preah Sihanouk; Bangkok, the capital and largest city of Thailand; Port Klang, a town that is the main gateway by sea into Malaysia; and Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State in Myanmar (officially known as Burma until 1989).
This wide-ranging voyage began with the departure of Sudarshini from India on September 15, 2012. N Shyam Sundar, the ship’s commanding officer, kept a blog throughout that sea-bound tour of Southeast Asia. His blog marked the first time that the Indian Navy actively used social media to help promote a diplomatic naval voyage. This journey ended on March 25, 2013, when Sudarashini returned to her home port of Kochi on India’s western coast. Those on hand to greet the ship and her crew included A.K. Antony, defense minister of India.
Photo Credit: Government of India (licensed under the Government Open Data License-India [GODL] at https://data.gov.in/sites/default/files/Gazette_Notification_OGDL.pdf)
For more information on the Indian Navy’s training ships, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_active_Indian_Navy_ships#Training_vessels
A video about INS Sudarshini’s maiden voyage in 2012-13 can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-rvdKGy158
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