The UK’s Carrier Strike Group has completed its first major workout since entering the Indian Ocean.
Led by flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth, the task group sailed with the Indian Navy for a range of exercises in the Bay of Bengal.
The series of close maneuvers and drills saw the Royal Navy aircraft carrier, frigates HMS Kent and Richmond, RFA support ship Fort Victoria, the Dutch HNLMS Evertsen and US Navy Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS The Sullivans sail with the Indian destroyer INS Ranvir, frigate Satpura, corvettes Kulish and Kavaratti and replenishment ship INS Jyoti.
Over the course of a busy two days, the ships conducted a range of air, surface and sub-surface exercises. In total, 12 ships took part in the training along with more than 30 aircraft and 4,500 personnel.
Leading Engineering Technician Jagjeet Singh Grewal is a Marine Engineer on HMS Queen Elizabeth and works to ensure the carrier’s F-35 Lightning jets and helicopters are safely fueled for flying operations.
His family have a long history in the Indian military. He said: “It feels good to be exercising with the Indian Navy as we have worked with many nations so far.
“It is good to know I am maintaining my family links while working with the Indian military. My grandfather and grandfather-in-law served alongside the British Army in the Second World War and received a Mention in Dispatches, the Burma Star, Africa Star, War Medal and Defence Medal.
The aim of the exercise was to see how the UK and Indian navies could work closely together, with both countries committed to freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean and surrounding regions.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander United Kingdom Carrier Strike Group, said: “As HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Carrier Strike Group cross the Indian Ocean, it is only natural that we should exercise with the Indian Navy.
“Britain and India are two prosperous and outward looking democracies, committed to security, freedom and the rule of law, here in the Indian Ocean and beyond. The best way to achieve this is through active maritime partnership, with navies that are ready and able to work together.
“At the strategic level, this exercise is a muscular expression of the closer defense partnership that Prime Ministers Johnson and Modi envisaged when they agreed the UK-India Roadmap 2030 earlier this year. In practical terms, the Indian Navy, like the Royal Navy, is in the midst of a carrier renaissance.
“There is a huge amount we can learn from one another about how to build, operate and sustain a capability which is the preserve of only the strongest and most capable navies. I look forward to our exercises over the coming days and to further opportunities when the Carrier Strike Group returns to the region later this year.”
“My father served in the Indian Air Force and currently my wife’s brother and uncle are serving in the Indian Navy.”