The United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2021, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth has met up with the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal, for three days of complex maritime interactions. The joint exercises between the Carrier Strike Group and the Indian Navy are being conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 21-23 July.
The maritime partnership exercise between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy will see the two navies conducting a range of multi-ship, air, sea and sub-surface maritime evolutions, as well as, close quarter manoeuvring. This enables both forces to advance their interoperability and cooperation ahead of further exercises when the CSG returns to the Indian Ocean in the autumn. The combined forces equate to 10 ships, two submarines, approximately 20 aircraft and almost 4,000 personnel.
Both the UK and India are in the midst of a carrier renaissance, with the CSG spearheading the UK’s Joint Expeditionary capability. The joint endeavour provides tangible security to our friends and a credible deterrence to those who seek to undermine global security. An Indian warship will also exercise with the Royal Navy off the coast of the UK in August.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said, “This is a month that will see the Royal Navy and Indian Navy meet and work together in two oceans – beginning in the Indian Ocean as the UK Carrier Strike Group arrives for the first of multiple UK-India exercises and events. Later this summer, both will participate in a separate exercise in the Atlantic Ocean. The deployment is proof of the strength, energy and significance of the growing relationship between our navies.”
Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral Sir Ben Key said, “The UK and India are key defence partners, and the Carrier Strike Group’s deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, showcasing our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order.”
Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, Commodore Steve Moorhouse, said, “As HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group cross the Indian Ocean, it is only natural that we should exercise with the Indian Navy.
“At the strategic level, the exercise is a muscular expression of the closer defence partnership that Prime Ministers Johnson and Modi envisaged when they agreed the UK-India Roadmap 2030 earlier this year.”
As part of its maiden operational deployment, the CSG will sail over 26,000 nautical miles, engaging with 40 countries from the Mediterranean to the Indo-Pacific and back again.
The fifth generation HMS Queen Elizabeth carrier, at 65,000 tonnes, is the largest surface vessel ever constructed in the UK. Taller than Niagara Falls, her propellers generate the power of 50 high-speed trains. She leads six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation. It is equipped with the fifth generation F-35B Lightning multi-role aircrafts. They are being jointly crewed by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps.
From defending democratic values and tackling shared threats, to seizing new trade opportunities through engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India and others, the deployment marks a step-change in UK engagement in the region. The UK is already investing in the region by seeking ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, kicking off negotiations to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and rapidly progressing trade talks with Australia, New Zealand and India.