India, UK joint naval exercise in Goa from April 21

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New Delhi, Apr 18 (UNI) India and the United Kingdom will conduct the third edition of annual 'Konkan' bilateral series of exercises on the western seaboard, Goa, from April 21 to May 2.

At 'Konkan 2008', the UK's Royal Navy would field the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious (with six Merlin helicopters), guided missile frigate HMS Westminister, the fleet replenishment tanker RFA Wave Knight, the afloat stores ship RFA Fort Austin and the hunter-killer submarine HMS Trafalgar along with embedded units FS Surcouf and USS Cole.

The Indian Navy would be represented by guided-missile destroyers INS Mysore and INS Rajput, guided missile frigate INS Gomati, fleet replenishment tanker INS Asitya and the submarine INS Shishumar.

The exercise would be conducted under the tactical command of the Flag Officer Commander Western Fleet, Rear Admiral Anil Chopra.

The British Force would be commanded by Commodore Tom Cunningham RN, Commander Carrier Strike Group, who would be embarked in the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious for the exercise.

During the exercises at sea, the major thrust would be on combined maritime operations with the Indian Navy's Sea Harrier aircraft operating from Goa, and between the submarines of the two navies.

Other aspects of the exercise include intermediate and advanced anti-submarine warfare, maritime interdiction operations, VBSS (visit, board, search and seizure) procedures, naval gunfire support, clearance diving and tactical manoeuvres.

Units of the Royal Navy Task Force would also visit Goa later this month. During the harbour phase, in addition to lectures on professional and contemporary maritime issues, the two sides will also engage in sports and cultural activities.

Konkan 2008 is a significant indicator of the continuing co-operation between India and the United Kingdom. The Konkan series of combined exercises between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy commenced in 2004 and has grown in both scope and complexity over the years. These exercises have been mutually beneficial to both the navies in several facets of operational activities.

UNI AG RR PM1920

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