Konkan Shakti 2021: India-UK tri-service exercise ends

The maiden tri-service exercise was conducted off India’s west coast in the Harbour phase and the sea phase.  

Konkan Shakti 2021, the maiden tri-service exercise between the armed forces of India and the United Kingdom, reached its climax on October 27, according to a press release by the Press Information Bureau of India. 

It is the first bilateral tri-service exercise between the two nations. “Smooth execution of the first edition of the exercise is testimony to the professional abilities, mutual understanding and shared commitment of the two nations and their personnel in uniform,” the release said.

The exercise, which was the second phase of the bilateral drill, spanned over four days beginning from October 24.

According to the release, “The exercise saw the two defence forces work in cohesion through a series of complex multi-service combat drills in all domains of maritime operations – air, surface and subsurface.”

During the tri-service exercise, the drills undertaken involved ‘replenishment at sea’ (RAS) practice, Strike Operations by fighter aircraft, Cross Control of helicopters, simulated induction of army troops, gun shoots on expendable air targets, advanced air and subsurface exercises, the release said.

It also involved composite helicopter formation fly-past and extensive force engagement involving fighter aircraft of the UK (F35B), Indian Navy (MiG 29K) and Indian Air Force (SU-30 and Jaguar), all of which reflected high synergy, professionalism and readiness of both nations to conduct joint maritime operations, when required.

The exercise provided both forces with the opportunity to share best practices and experiences in a collaborative spirit that is particularly important in the complex and unpredictable global security environment.

The culmination of the exercise was marked by the traditional steam past between ships of the two navies, the release added.

Background:

The Konkan Shakti 2021 is the first bilateral tri-service exercise between the armed forces of India and the United Kingdom. The maritime component of the training was conducted off India’s west coast in two phases — the ‘Harbour phase’ from October 21 to October 23 and the ‘Sea phase’ from October 24 to October 27.

Named Konkan Shakti, “it aims to derive mutual benefits from each other’s experiences and also showcase the continuing cooperation between the two countries,” the Navy said.

Chief of Defence Staff of the UK Sir Nick Carter was also visiting India during the first phase.
The Navy said on October 21 that 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.”

It also said that the “interoperability achieved over the years, as a result of such exercises, has proved to be operationally beneficial to armed forces of both countries”.

The United Kingdom’s Royal Navy was represented by its HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier with her integral F35 fighter jets and helicopters.

The Royal Navy’s participating fleet also had Type 45 Daring Class air-defence destroyer HMS Defender, Type 23 frigate HMS Richmond, a Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) Fort Victoria, and a Royal Netherland Navy Frigate HNLMS Evertsen.

For the Indian Navy, three of its stealth guided-missile destroyers INS Kolkata, INS Kochi and INS Chennai, two stealth frigates, INS Talwar and INS Teg, and the tanker INS Aditya participated, along with Sea King 42B, Kamov-31 and Chetak helicopters, MIG 29K fighter aircraft, Dornier and P8i (maritime patrol aircraft), and a submarine.

The Indian Air Force will participate in its Jaguars, Su-30 Mki, AWACS, AEW&C, and flight refuel aircraft.

This tri-service exercise results from the India-UK 2030 Roadmap announced in May 2021 by the Prime Ministers of both countries.

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