Updated May 27th, 2024 at 09:45 IST

INS Kiltan Visits Brunei as Part Indian Navy’s Strategic South China Sea Deployment

INS Kiltan has arrived in Muara, Brunei, marking a significant step in the operational deployment of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea.

Reported by: Yuvraj Tyagi
INS Kiltan | Image:Indian Navy
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Muara: Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kiltan arrived at Muara, Brunei, on a visit aimed at bolstering the maritime cooperation between India and Brunei. The ship was accorded a warm welcome by the Royal Brunei Navy on Friday, marking a significant moment in the Operational Deployment of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet to the South China Sea. This visit underscores the deepening friendship and strategic partnership between the two maritime nations, as stated in a press release by the Ministry of Defence.

The visit to INS Kiltan is meticulously designed to enhance professional interactions, foster sports fixtures, promote social exchanges, and engage in community outreach programs. These activities are a testament to the shared values and mutual respect between the Indian Navy and the Royal Brunei Navy. The visit highlights the commitment of both navies to enhance interoperability and exchange best practices through collaborative efforts.  

Why the visit is of strategic importance  

The South China Sea is a region of significant strategic importance, and the presence of the Indian Navy in these waters underscores India's commitment to maintaining peace and stability in the region. The geopolitical landscape in the South China Sea has been marked by tensions, particularly between China and the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal. Located approximately 220 kilometres off the coast of the Philippines, the shoal is within the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Despite international rulings, China has claimed almost the entire South China Sea, leading to disputes with multiple nations, including the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. India's engagement in the South China Sea, through naval visits and joint exercises, signals its support for a rules-based international order and its commitment to ensuring freedom of navigation in international waters. The Indian Navy's regular deployments and interactions with regional navies contribute to the collective efforts to uphold peace and stability in the region.  

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INS Kiltan: A technological marvel  

INS Kiltan (P30) is an advanced anti-submarine warfare corvette, a key component of the Indian Navy's efforts towards indigenization and self-reliance. Built under Project 28 by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata, INS Kiltan represents a significant leap in the Indian Navy's capabilities. The ship was launched on 26 March 2013 and commissioned on 16 October 2017, INS Kiltan boasts a remarkable 90% indigenous content, highlighting India's strides in defence technology and manufacturing.

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The Kamorta-class corvette, to which Kiltan belongs, is a product of the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design. These ships are equipped to operate under nuclear, biological, and chemical environments, making them frontline warships with advanced stealth features and low radar signatures that significantly enhance their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. INS Kiltan is notable for being the first Indian ship with a superstructure made of carbon fibre composite material integrated with its main hull, a technological innovation that reduces top weight lowers maintenance costs, and improves stealth features.  

Technical specifications and armaments  

INS Kiltan is a highly maneuverable corvette, capable of reaching a top speed of 25 knots and has a range of approximately 3,450 nautical miles at 18 knots. It is powered by four diesel engines generating a combined power of 3,000 kW (4,000 hp), enabling efficient and reliable propulsion.  

The corvette is armed with a variety of advanced Indian-developed weapons and sensors, including a medium-range gun, torpedo tube launchers, rocket launchers, and a close-in weapon system. Additionally, INS Kiltan features an integrated communication system and an electronic warfare system, ensuring it is well-equipped for modern naval warfare.

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The visit of INS Kiltan will conclude with a Maritime Partnership Exercise at sea between the Indian Navy and the Royal Brunei Navy. These exercises will involve tactical evolutions designed to bolster interoperability and facilitate the exchange of best practices between the two navies. This engagement is not only a demonstration of naval prowess but also a reinforcement of the strong bilateral relations between India and Brunei.  

Earlier on May 20, INS Kiltan, along with INS Delhi and INS Shakti, visited Manila, Philippines. This visit aimed to strengthen the longstanding friendship and maritime cooperation between India and the Philippines, reflecting the broader strategy of the Indian Navy's Eastern Fleet operational deployment to the South China Sea. During the visit, personnel from both navies engaged in a wide range of professional interactions, including Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE), sports fixtures, cross-deck visits, cultural visits, and collaborative community outreach programmes. 

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Published May 27th, 2024 at 09:45 IST