The UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 2021, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, has sailed into the Indian Ocean Region and is expected to join naval excercise with Indian Navy.
According to an official report released in UK, the “deployment represents the UK’s commitment to deepening diplomatic, economic and security ties with India and in the Indo-Pacific region”.
Defence experts say that the move is designed to assure India that UK stand for a free, open and inclusive order in the Indo-Pacific, challenging China.
The official statement quoted British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as saying that “the deployment illustrates the UK’s enduring commitment to global defence and security, strengthening our existing alliances and forging new partnerships with like-minded countries”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab added that “The Carrier Strike Group deployment marks the start of a new era of defence cooperation with allies in India and the Indo-Pacific.”
British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis, in his statement said that “The Carrier Strike Group is a powerful demonstration of our commitment to the security of India and the Indo-Pacific.”
The UK naval support to India came at a time when UK has sent its first International Liaison Officer joining the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region in Gurugram. The strengthening of US, UK, Japanese, French and Indian navies is seen as a serious threat to the sea-routes used by China and Russia.
Meanwhile according to media reports on July 18, 2021 Indian Navy has formally inducted into service the first two of 24 Lockheed Martin MH-60R Seahawk multirole helicopters it ordered in late 2020 for $2.12 billion.
The Defence-blog.com hss added that under the $2.12 billion deal, 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters will be purchased to replace the Sea King helicopters in the Indian Navy fleet.
The helicopters are to be armed with multi-mode radar, Hellfire missiles,
Mark 54 torpedoes and precision-kill rockets, the report added. — PPA