India and the United Kingdom have flagged off the ‘Konkan Shakti 2021’, a maiden bi-lateral naval exercise conducted at the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea.

According to a statement by the Indian Navy, all participating units were split into two opposing forces to achieve ‘sea control’ to land Army ground-troops at a pre-designated site.

“One force was led by the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet and comprised the flagship INS Chennai, other warships of the Indian Navy and HMS Richmond, the Royal Navy’s Type 23 frigate. The other force operated under the UK Carrier Strike Group comprising aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, other UK and Netherland naval ships, and Indian warships,” the statement from the Indian Navy said.

“The high level of interoperability displayed on the first day of the exercise reflects the high standards of professionalism and preparedness of both navies. It is also reflective of a high level of mutual trust and understanding that has built over many years,” the Indian Navy said.

The two forces integrated within their groups with 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.

All 3 Services from the Indian & UK Armed Forces are exercising simultaneously in the most ambitious exercise KonkanShakti21 conducted by the 2 countries to date. CSG21 aircraft & ships are participating side by side with our Indian counterparts developing interoperability.

The simulated induction of Army troops was also undertaken and was followed by the setting up of a joint command operations centre. The two forces thereafter affected 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 flypast 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 throughout the night. Indian MPA, P8I, also participated in the exercise.

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