India, UK Holding First Tri-Service Drill In Arabian Sea

New Delhi:  India and the UK’s armed forces are carrying out their maiden tri-Service exercise ‘Konkan Shakti 2021′ in the Arabian Sea, off the Konkan coast, and elsewhere defence officials said on Tuesday.

The tri-service exercise aims to derive mutual benefits from each other’s experiences and also showcase the continuing cooperation between the two countries, they said.

“On completion of harbour planning phase, the sea phase of the exercise commenced on October 24. It will continue till October 27,” the Indian Navy said.

All participating units were split into two opposing forces with the aim of achieving sea control to land troops at a pre-designated site.

“One force was led by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet and comprised the flag ship INS Chennai, other warships of the Indian Navy and HMS Richmond, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate,” the force said.

The other force operated under the UK Carrier Strike Group comprising aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, other UK and the Netherlands’ ships and Indian warships.

The two forces integrated, within their groups, exercises such as replenishment at sea approaches, air direction and strike operations by fighter aircraft — MiG 29Ks and F35Bs, cross control of helicopters — Sea King, Chetak and Wildcat, transiting through war-at-sea scenarios and gun shoots on expendable air targets.

The simulated induction of troops was also undertaken, followed by setting up of a joint command operations centre.

Thereafter, the two forces effected a rendezvous at sea with advanced air and sub-surface exercises.

The air operations included strikes on the combined formation by Indian maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) Dornier, fighters of the Indian Navy (MiG-29Ks), Royal Navy (F35Bs) and Indian Air Force (SU-30 and Jaguars) as well as a composite fly-past over the formation.

Sub-surface exercises with an Indian Scorpene class submarine and underwater remote controlled vehicle EMATT, operated by the Royal Navy, were undertaken through the night.

“Indian MPA P8I also participated in the exercise,” Navy said.

The land phase of the exercise is being conducted between the Indian Army and UK Army at Chaubatia under the Golden Key Division of Surya Command.

The UK Army is being represented by officers and troops of the 1st Battalion of the Fusilier Regiment and the Indian Army is represented by the troops of 1/11 Gorkha Rifles.

The joint company level exercise between the two nations is aimed at training troops in conduct of Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief Operations by coalition forces in an opposed environment.

The tri-service exercise aims to derive mutual benefits from each other’s experiences and also showcase the continuing cooperation between the two countries.

Maritime cooperation is a distinguishable symbol of the commitment of both nations in ensuring a positive climate at sea for enhancing strategic stability and promoting global economic prosperity.

The interoperability achieved over the years, as a result of such exercises, has proved to be operationally beneficial to armed forces of both countries.