The ceremonial handing over of the former Indian Coast Guard Ship Varaha, which had been in service with Sri Lanka Navy as Sri Lanka Naval Ship Sagara since 2006, took place at the port of Colombo on 27th August 2015 in keeping with naval customs and traditions. The Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, His Excellency Y. K. Sinha handed over the ship on behalf of Government of India and the Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, Mr. B. M. U. D. Basnayake accepted the ship on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka. Chief of Defence Staff, service commanders, senior officers of the Sri Lanka Navy and representatives of the Indian High Commission were also present on the occasion.
His Excellency the High Commissioner was accorded a Guard of Honour on arrival and the Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Vice Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne welcomed him and the other distinguished invitees onboard Sagara. Addressing the gathering the Commander of the Navy elaborated the historical relationship between India and Sri Lanka, which dates back to thousands of years. Thereafter, His Excellency the High Commissioner unveiled the plaque to commemorate the occasion symbolizing the strength of the bilateral relationship between India and Sri Lanka.
SLNS Sagara is an Offshore Patrol Vessel made by India in 1992. The ship, which is 75m in length and 11m in width, was provided by the Indian Government on a free dry lease agreement to the Sri Lanka Navy in 2006 in appreciation of the Sri Lanka Navy’s efforts to maintain the maritime security in the region. SLNS Sagara served the Sri Lanka Navy in many successful operations conducted during the conflict period. It has contributed immensely for surveillance activities since 2009 to date.