The British government has started to align more with the Asia Pacific countries in a bid to conclude new trading partnerships in the post-Brexit era. However, limited naval assets pose a major roadblock in this ambition.
Naval forces of India and the United Kingdom started a nine-day-long bilateral exercise named KONKAN in the Arabian Sea on Thursday. While the harbour phase of the exercise will last for the first three days, the sea phase of the exercise will begin on 2 December. Both Navies have, over the years, undertaken bilateral activities such as training exchanges and technical cooperation.
'The thrust of the exercise this year would be on anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, visit board searches and seizure (VBSS) and seamanship evolutions', the Indian Navy said in a statement.
The Indian Navy has fielded INS Kolkata, the first ship of latest Kolkata class destroyers equipped with an integral Seaking helicopter and a submarine. Maritime patrol aircraft Dornier will also participate in the exercise. The British Navy will be represented by HMS Dragon, a Type 45 class destroyer equipped with an integral Wildcat helicopter.
'The inter-operability achieved over the years as a result of such exercises has proved to be operationally beneficial to both navies', the Indian Navy added.
The British government, earlier this year, offered to train Indian troops to operate in contested environments, sea boarding techniques, and interdiction. But it is not clear whether the two countries have agreed upon the proposal.