Reportage: BIG GUNS on Indian Coastal Vessel

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Politicians, diplomats and community leaders shared an evening of Indian marine elegance as the ‘Hawk’ docks in Hong Kong waters.

On August 5, Indian Coast Guard Ship Sarang (meaning ‘Hawk’ in Sanskrit) arrived at Hong Kong on a goodwill visit. Leaders and prominent figures from the political, diplomat and Indian communities were invited to come on board the day after.

Commanding Officer of the vessel, Deputy Inspector General Naresh Kumar Kaul, and Consul General of India in Hong Kong, Mr Prashant Agrawal were present to offer hospitality to the guests on the quarterdeck with Indian decorations.

The guest list was impressive including heavyweights from across the political spectrum from a strong PLA Naval presence, Hong Kong’s Marine Police, mainland Chinese government representatives, Hong Kong ExCo members, democratic politicians from the Civic Party’s top echelons and a generous helping of the diplomatic community.

Special guests of honour included the Director-General of MFA in Hong Kong, Li Yiping. He was in a jovial mood, the heat notwithstanding. ExCo was represented by Mr Paul Chan (joined by Mrs. Chan), Secretary for Development, and his colleague Eddie Ng, Secretary for Education. Senior members of the marine police and Customs and Excise also joined after a day of meetings with their Indian Coast Guard counterparts. Of special note was the high fashion of some of the PLA naval members who displayed a little sartorial flair in choice of uniform footwear.

Diplomats include British Consul General Caroline Wilson as well as her Israeli counterpart Sagi Karni. The Myanmar CG, Zaw Zaw Soe was on board as was the Honorary Consul for Lithuania and local Indian community majordomo, Raj Sital. The new Korean Consul General Kim Kwang-dong made it a family affair!

Alan Leong and Audrey Eu of the Civic Party represented the forces for democracy to the democratic nation’s Coast Guard.

Apart from highlighting the ship’s modern equipment (with a helicopter) and India’s commitment to participate in combating terrorism and piracy, the commanding officer also joked, “We used to address our ship as a ‘SHE’. And after 19 years of service, she still looks pretty.”

‘She’ is open to the public on August 8.