09:47 GMT +318 February 2019
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    India Navy officers stand on the deck of INS Betwa in Calcutta, India, in July 2004.

    Indian Warships Enter Iranian Port Bandar-e-Abbas

    © AP Photo / Bikas Das
    Asia & Pacific
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    Two Indian warships entered an Iranian port on Thursday as part of a “goodwill visit to strengthen the bilateral relations” between the two countries, the Indian government said on Friday.

    The ships, INS Betwa and INS Beas, docked at Bandar-e-Abbas port for a five-day stay in Iran, according to the India Ministry of Defense. They are scheduled to undertake various professional interactions with their counterparts in the Iranian Navy, including exercises at sea.

    "It has been India's national objective to ensure a secure and stable regional environment, which is conducive for economic and social development not just at home, but also in immediate and extended neighborhood," the Defense Ministry said in a release.

    "The Indian Navy, while shouldering its security responsibilities, is committed to these objectives and has been contributing towards humanitarian assistance, capacity building and capability enhancement of friendly foreign countries when so needed."

    The visit comes days after an Indian warship anchored at Israel's Haifa port.

    The guided missile frigates are about 400 feet long, displace 3,600 tons and are capable of operating at extended ranges, with speeds up to 30 knots, the defense ministry said. They have a "state-of-the-art" sensor suites and an "impressive" weapons package, including long range surface-to-surface missiles and anti-missile defense systems, the ministry added.

    Iran and India have a relationship that is "centuries old," the release said, adding that the two nations currently cooperate in the commerce, energy and education industries. Those ties have been further strengthened by cultural exchanges, commercial interactions and bilateral meetings and high-profile visits, the ministry added.

    India is among the countries that have expressed interest in investing in Iran since Tehran struck a deal with world powers last month to limit its nuclear work in return for relief from economic sanctions.

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