The high-powered tri-services exercises, Konkan Shakti 2021, concluded today after the completion of the sea phase. The exercise started on October 21 with the harbour planning phase with troops from all three services of both countries.
The military engagement followed from the announcement by Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Boris Johnson outlining the India-UK 2030 roadmap in May this year.
The UK is only the third country with whom India has conducted a tri-service exercise. The armies of the two nations had conducted the Ajeya Warrior exercise earlier this month.
According to a statement by the Indian Defence Ministry, "All participating units were split into two opposing forces with the aim of achieving sea control to land Army ground-troops at a pre-designated site".
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.
The Commander of the UK Carrier Strike Group, Commodore Steve Moorhouse tweeted: "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, followed by setting up of a joint command operations centre. The two forces also effected a rendezvous at sea with advanced air operations and sub-surface exercises with an Indian Scorpene-class submarine and underwater remote-controlled vehicle EMATT.
This was the second engagement of the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth with the Indian Navy. The two navies had earlier carried out a mega wargame in July before the British carrier group sailed into the contested waters of the South China Sea.
Queen Elizabeth would be completing its six-month deployment in the Indo-Pacific, which was a signal to China about maintaining the laws of the sea and keeping shipping lines free from coercion. The UK is planning to permanently deploy two battleships in the region as support to the US and other countries in the Indo-Pacific.
India and the UK are also looking at deepening their engagements across the entire spectrum of their relationship--trade and commerce, defence relations as well as keeping an eye on the Indo-Pacific.