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India-Royal Navy exercise 'Konkan 2009' in June

A File photo of third annual Indo-British naval exercise 'Konkan' in Goa.

NEW DELHI (BNS):The sixth edition of the annual bilateral series of Indo-UK exercises, ‘Konkan 2009’ with the Royal Navy will be held in Portsmouth, UK.

An Indian Navy Task Group, led by the destroyer-INS Delhi, along with frigates INS Beas and INS Brahmaputra, and the tanker INS Aditya will reach Portsmouth on June 17, said a statement by the Defence Ministry.

The task group will be under the command of Rear Admiral Surinder Pal Singh Cheema, Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet.

According to senior naval officials, the aim of the exercise is to practice anti-submarine warfare (ASW) in different oceanic conditions. "No country has much experience in ASW as the British Navy," they said.

Konkan is an annual exercise between Indian and Royal Navies, conducted with the aim of building maritime inter-operability and mutual understanding.These exercises have been mutually beneficial to both navies in several facets of naval operational activities.

Five such exercises between the Indian Navy and Royal Navy were commenced since 2004. Konkan-09 is the first to be conducted in UK waters.

UK participants, commanded by Commodore Simon Ancona, include the frigates HMS Westminster and HMS Lancaster, the nuclear powered submarine HMS Trafalgar, the auxiliaries RFA Mounts Bay and RFA Fort Rosalie and an RAF Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft. A team of Indian Navy divers will also be conducting Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) training with the Plymouth-based Southern Diving Group.

After the harbour phase, the combined Task Group will sail on July 20 and exercise together for six days. The focus will be on anti-submarine warfare, but there will be opportunities to practice anti-air and anti-surface skills, including specialist boarding operations.

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