Sending an emphatic message of convergence over the Indo-Pacific, the British Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group will participate in full-spectrum exercises with the Indian Navy in the Bay of Bengal as part of KONKAN’s annual war games next month as that 65,000-ton warship is heading for its first deployment in the South China Sea.
HMS Elizabeth, with British and American F-35B stealth fighters on board, is currently involved in anti-ISIS operations on the Iraqi-Syrian border. He is accompanied by destroyers from the United Kingdom and the United States, frigates from the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, and a submarine. The warship departed the UK on May 22 for a 28-week deployment across the Mediterranean and the Indo-Pacific in pursuit of freedom of navigation operations in the disputed South China Sea.
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As the dates for Exercise KONKAN are being finalized with the Indian Navy, the Carrier Group will wage war around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Indian destroyers, submarines, anti-submarine warfare planes. P8I and MiG-29 K fighters. The Indian aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya is undergoing maintenance and will not be deployed until the end of 2021. But that’s not all.
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On its way back to the UK via the Suez Canal, the Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group will participate in a three-service exercise with the Indian Armed Forces in October off Goa in the Arabian Sea. All three elements of the Indian Army, including the amphibious forces, will be involved in a three-day exercise with the British warship and its support elements. The exercise will be conducted in all three areas with the aircraft carrier paying stops at Mumbai and Karwar, which will be the headquarters of India’s first maritime theater command.
During stopovers, the Indian Army will experience for the first time the punch of the F-35B stealth fighters, which are designed for a short take-off and vertical landing mode on the aircraft carrier. The Indian Navy is also looking for fighters on the native aircraft carrier Vikrant, which will go into service as India celebrates its 75th anniversary of independence next year.
With Prime Minister Boris Johnson in charge, India and the United Kingdom have decided to deepen their military cooperation on the Indo-Pacific with the aim of ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. On June 23-24, the Indian Navy trained with the USS Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Goa as the Nimitz-class warship returned from an operational deployment in the South China Sea.