INS Sudarshini, the sail training ship of the Indian Navy, Saturday began a historical mission to celebrate India's warm ties with ASEAN countries.
Indian Navy chief Admiral D.K. Joshi flagged off the six month voyage - a unique collaborative venture of the defence and external affairs ministries - from the naval base here.
During the course of its 12,000 mile expedition, INS Sudarshini will visit 13 ports in nine countries in Southeast Asia.
The voyage commemorates two decades of dialogue partnership and a decade of summit level partnership with countries of ASEAN.
Speaking on the occasion, Admiral Joshi expressed pride at the fact that cultural, economic and diplomatic linkages across the Indian Ocean are once again being reinforced through maritime endeavours such as this.
He also termed INS Sudarshini as India's "Ambassador at Large", furthering the common vision of peace and prosperity
Ambassador Shyam Saran, co-chair of the ASEAN Indian Eminent Persons Group, in his speech, said that INS Sudarshini's voyage would trace the civilizational and historical links between India and South East Asia.
"More significantly, this would also mark the contemporary maritime linkages of trade and technology, which are today contributing to the human resource development and the economic growth of India and countries of ASEAN," said Saran.
INS Sudarshini, a three masted barque, is part of the First Training squadron of the Southern Naval Command and is commanded by Commander N. Shyamsunder.
She has a crew of 31 in addition to 30 cadets who will learn the ropes of life at sea during the voyage.
The ship will visit the ports of Padang, Bali, Manado (Indonesia), Port Muara (Brunei), Cebu, Manila (Philippines), Da Nang (Vietnam), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Bangkok, Phuket (Thailand), Singapore, Port Klang (Malaysia), and Sittwe (Myanmar).