South Asian navies turned up in force at the latest edition of the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX)s held in Qatar from 21-23 March, with five vessels from three countries – Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan – constituting over a third of the 14 warships that docked at Hamad Port north of the Qatari capital of Doha.
The Bangladesh Navy dispatched its Shadhinota-class (Type C13B) corvette BNS Prottasha (F114). Built by China’s Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group, the 90 m-long corvette is derived from the Jiangdao-class (Type 056) design in service with the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
The Indian Navy presented one of its largest principal surface warfare platforms, the indigenously built Kolkata-class (Project 15A) guided-missile destroyer INS Kolkata. India also underscored its growing engagement with Qatar with a high-level delegation led by Vice Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Naval Command and other senior officials.
Vice Admiral Singh also presented India’s perspectives at the Middle East Naval Commanders Conference (MENC) conducted on the sidelines of DIMDEX 2022.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Navy sent three vessels: the Zulfiquar (F-22P)-class frigate PNS Shamsheer, the Azmat-class missile patrol craft PNS Azmat, and Kashmir-class patrol vessel PMSS Kolachi. It is worth noting that all three vessels are built by, or based on, designs from Chinese shipyards.
Commissioned in February 2010, frigate Shamsheer is built by Shanghai Hudong-Zhonghua Shipyard and based on the PLAN’s updated Jiangwei II (Type 053H3)-class design. Lead missile patrol craft Azmat was likewise built in China by Tianjin Xingang Shipyard using the PLAN’s Houjian-class design, although her sister vessels were subsequently built locally by Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW). Although built by KSEW in Pakistan, patrol vessel Kolachi is nevertheless based on a Chinese Coast Guard platform developed by Guangzhou Wenchong Huangpu Shipyard and commissioned into service in July 2018.
by Jr Ng