Konkan Shakti: Sea Phase of the maiden tri-service exercise between India and the UK begins

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October 26, 2021 5:18 PM

Force two, according to the Indian Navy operated under the UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and there was the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, naval ships from India, the UK and the Netherlands.

Induction of the army troops of the two forces was simulated and this was followed by setting up of a joint command operations centre.

The Sea Phase of the maiden tri-service “Konkan Shakti’’ between the armed forces of India and the UK has already taken off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea.

More about the exercise:

All the units which are participating in the exercise were divided into two opposing forces. And the main aim was to achieve ‘sea control’ to land Army ground-troops at a pre-designated site.

Force one was led by Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet. And the flag ship INS Chennai, other warships of the Indian Navy and HMS Richmond, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate were deployed to be part of the .

Force two, according to the Indian Navy operated under the UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) and there was the aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, naval ships from India, the UK and the Netherlands.

This ongoing exercise is all about high level interoperability, prepared by both navies and is also reflective of a high level of mutual understanding built over a period of several years.

Army Troops

Induction of the army troops of the two forces was simulated and this was followed by setting up of a joint command operations centre.

And they later participated in the advanced air and sub-surface exercises.

Highlight of Sea Phase of the drill

Both forces focused on replenishment at sea approaches, air directions and strike operations which were carried out by fighter aircraft including Russian MiG-29Ks and the Royal Navy’s F35Bs.

Cross control of helicopters – Wildcat, Chetak and Sea King helicopters were deployed and were transiting through war-at-sea scenarios, also gunshots on expendable air targets were practiced.

Another aspect of the exercise is air operations which are practicing strikes on the combined formation with the fighters of the Indian Navy (MiG-29Ks), Indian Air Force — SU-30 & Jaguars, Royal Navy’s F35Bs, as well Indian maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) Dornier. There is a composite fly past over the formation.

Also, there are sub-surface exercises and this involves an Indian Scorpene class submarine and underwater remote controlled vehicle EMATT. The EMATT is being operated by the Royal Navy. And this part of the ongoing exercise was undertaken through the night. Indian Navy’s P8i and MPA have also been part of the exercise.

The exercises between the two armed forces of the UK and India will conclude on Wednesday (Oct 27, 2021). This is by far the most ambitious tri-service exercise being undertaken by the two countries and is in line with the announcements made by the top leadership of both sides. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Boris Johnson in May this year had announced the India-UK Roadmap.

Importance of “Konkan Shakti’’

Strong partnership with India is a key pillar of the UK’s incline to the Indo-Pacific.

Boosting of Strategic Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and also in further strengthening of defence and security ties.

This exercise has also provided an opportunity to work in synergy and uphold shared commitment to peace and security of India and the UK.

For the first time, the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG), led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, is participating in the exercise.

According to Gavin Thompson, Defence Adviser at the British High Commission, New Delhi, “Konkan Shakti will not only boost the cooperation of our armed forces but also strengthen the living bridge connecting the people of our two great nations

First Sea Lord Admiral and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Tony Radakin said: “The Royal Navy and the Indian Navy are multi-carrier, blue-water navies, placing us in a very exclusive club. Our growing interactions are a testimony to belief in the values of open trade, in the importance of the freedom of the high seas and the shared commitment to rules-based international system — a right conveyed on all nations.”

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