Navy launches Operation Samudra Setu II to ferry in Covid-19 relief supplies - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Wednesday 5 May 2021

Navy launches Operation Samudra Setu II to ferry in Covid-19 relief supplies

Stealth frigate, INS Talwar, bringing oxygen cylinders to New Mangalore port


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 6th May 21


Nine capital warships of the Indian Navy have been pressed into service on a medical relief operation called Operation Samudra Setu II (Ocean Bridge II) to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. With medical supplies running low in Indian hospitals, these vessels were sent to West Asia and South East Asia to bring back liquid medical oxygen bottles, oxygen concentrators and other medical stores.


“As a part of the ongoing national effort to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu II to bring in by sea much-needed oxygen and associated medical supplies from friendly foreign countries,” stated Vice Admiral MS Pawar, the Deputy Chief of Naval Staff on Wednesday, upon the arrival of the first consignment of Liquid Medical Oxygen onboard Indian Naval Ship (INS) Talwar at New Mangalore port.


“As many as nine warships have been diverted to various ports in the region extending from Kuwait in the West to Singapore in the East,” said Pawar.


When the pandemic broke out last year, the Indian Navy had launched Operation Samudra Setu to repatriate Indian citizens stranded in various Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries.


“Let me assure our countrymen that the navy will continue with its efforts to bring relief and, together, we will overcome this challenge,” said Pawar.

The navy’s frontline frigates, destroyers and amphibious warfare vessels that have been deployed for Operation Samudra Setu II normally spend their time on “mission based deployment,” patrolling the Indian Ocean to ensuring that merchant vessels and oil tankers can safely ply on the “sea lines of communication” (SLOCs).


Now ships from all three naval commands in Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Kochi are ferrying medical supplies.


On the Western seaboard, INS Talwar entered the port of New Mangalore in Karnataka on Wednesday, ferrying two 27-tonne liquid oxygen tanks from Manama, Bahrain. 


Meanwhile, the stealth destroyer, INS Kolkata, departed from Kuwait after loading two 27-tonne oxygen tanks, 400 oxygen cylinders and 47 oxygen concentrators. 


Four more warships are en route to Qatar and Kuwait, on a mission to bring back around nine 27-tonne oxygen tanks and more than 1500 oxygen cylinders from these countries.

On the Eastern seaboard, the amphibious warfare vessel, INS Airavat, departed Singapore on Wednesday with more than 3,600 oxygen cylinders, eight 27-tonne (216 tonnes) oxygen tanks, 10,000 Rapid Antigen Detection Test Kits and seven oxygen concentrators.


Meanwhile another amphibious warfare vessel, INS Jalashwa, remains positioned in south east Asia, standing by to embark medical stores at short notice.

INS Shardul, a Landing Ship Tank (LST) that is part of Southern Naval Command at Kochi, is on its way to Persian Gulf to bring back three cryogenic containers filled with liquid Oxygen.


INS Jalashwa and INS Shardul, had participated in Operation Samudra Setu last year, repatriating stranded Indian citizens from West Asia.


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