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Indian Navy participates in first Naval drill with EU

Ships from the Indian Navy, Royal Australian Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force approach USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) during Malabar 2020. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Markus Castaneda/U.S. Navy)
June 23, 2021

For the first time ever, the Indian Navy carried out joint drills in the Gulf of Aden with the European Union Naval Force that included warships from the French, Spanish and Italian navies.

The Indian Navy’s INS Trikand, which was already deployed for anti-piracy operations, participated in the IN EUNAVFOR joint naval exercise, which commenced on Friday, June 18.

“A total of five warships from four navies are participating in the exercise on 18 and 19 June 2021. Other warships include Italian Navy Ship ITS Carabiner, Spanish Navy Ship ESPS Navarra, and two French Navy Ships, FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf,” the Indian Navy said in an official statement prior to the exercise.

The two-day exercise included high-intensity naval operations at sea, including advanced air defense and anti-submarine exercises, cross-deck helicopter operations, tactical maneuvers, boarding operations, underway replenishment, search and rescue, man overboard drills, and other maritime security operations.

“Ships of the four navies took endeavor to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills and their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security, and stability in the maritime domain,” the statement read. “Concurrently, a virtual ‘information sharing exercise’ is also being conducted between the Indian Navy Information Fusion Centre Indian Ocean Region and Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa on June 18.”

EU Naval Force and the Indian Navy regularly meet up on multiple issues, including counter-piracy operations and protection of vessels deployed under the United Nations’ World Food Programme charter.

The two also hold regular interactions through SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-confliction) meetings annually in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

“This engagement displays increased levels of synergy, coordination, and inter-operability between IN and EUNAVFOR. It also emphasizes the shared values as partner navies, in safeguarding freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive and rules-based international order,” it added.

The exercise adds to the ever-growing list of the Indian Navy’s cooperation with other foreign navies that have included the Exercise VARUNA 2021, 35th Edition of India – Indonesia Coordinated Patrol, Malabar 2020, JIMEX 20, INDRA NAVY-20, AUSINDEX-19, RIMPAC 2018, and more.

The cooperation demonstrates the Indian government’s effort to build closer ties with friendly nations, and to improve the synergy between the Indian Navy and other friendly militaries in order to effectively fight together as one at war.