Indian Navy holding joint exercise with E.U. navies in the Gulf of Aden

Published : June 19, 2021 09:52 IST

The French Navy Ship FS Tonnerre during the IN–EUNAVFOR joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden. Photo: Ministry of Defence/PTI

The maiden Indian Navy-European Union Naval Force (IN-EUNAVFOR) joint naval exercise kicked off on June 18 in the Gulf of Aden, a crucial waterway that is part of the Suez Canal shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea, and the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea. A total of five warships from three European navies and the Indian Navy are participating in the two-day exercise that includes advanced air defence and anti-submarine manoeuvres.

Naval officers associated with the exercise told Frontline that warships from the four navies “will endeavour 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”. Representing the Indian Navy is the 2013 commissioned, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Trikand, the Russian-built Talwar class guided missile frigate.

The other warships taking part in the exercise are the Italian Navy’s frigate ITS Carabiniere, the Spanish Navy’s Santa Maria-class frigate ESPS Navarra, and two French Naval warships, the French Ship (FS) Tonnerre, which is an amphibious assault helicopter carrier, and the La Fayette-class frigate FS Surcouf.

Along with the IN-EUNAVFOR exercise, June 18 also saw a virtual ‘information sharing exercise’ being conducted between the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre—Indian Ocean Region (IFS-IOR) and the Maritime Security Centre—Horn of Africa (MSCHOA). The Gurugram located IFC-IOR seeks the collaboration of various maritime nations and organisations to enhance maritime safety and security on the seas of this region, while the Brest (France) located MSCHOA, an initiative of the EUNAVFOR, looks to, among other things, “communicate the latest counter-piracy guidance to the maritime industry”.

According to the Indian Navy spokesperson, there is a whale of convergence between EUNAVFOR and the Indian Navy on multiple issues including counter piracy operations and protection of vessels deployed under the charter of the World Food Programme (UN WFP). Elaborated the spokesperson: “The Indian Navy and EUNAVFOR also have regular interactions through SHADE (Shared Awareness and De-confliction) meetings held annually in Bahrain. The IN-EUNAVFOR joint naval exercise showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination, and inter-operability between the Indian navy and EUNAVFOR. It also underscores the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive and a rules-based international order.”