New delhi: The Indian Navy (IN) and the Royal Navy (RN) have an unparalleled history of interactions due to our shared heritage. Recent operational interactions between the IN and the RN started in 2004 with the institutionalisation of Exercise KONKAN, named after the Western coastal region of India. Since then, the two navies have been meeting regularly at sea and the exercise has grown in complexity, scale and intensity after more than a decade of exercising together. These exercises, hosted in rotation by both the Navies, also provide opportunities for professional and cultural interaction between personnel. The bonds developed through such events further strengthen the established mechanisms of maritime cooperation between the two navies, while pursuing common goals of keeping the seas around us safe and secure.
Both the Navies share many common concerns such as protection of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ), threats to maritime trade and commerce from piracy, illegal immigration and maritime terrorism. Maritime interactions under the aegis of KONKAN series of exercises have promoted synergy and inter-operability between the two Navies. The exercise also provides valuable opportunity to practice a wide range of maritime operations in realistic conditions.
KONKAN aims to promote mutual understanding and provide exposure to each others’ operating procedures, communication procedures and best practices. This allows the Navies to develop greater confidence to operate together, if required, during complex maritime missions. Periodic conduct of this exercise has helped to build on past experiences and further advance professional as well as operational engagements between the two navies. Such engagements between the two navies symbolize the growing friendship of two major powers in the world, with an aim to maintain peace and stability especially in the Indian Ocean Region.
This year, the IN will be represented in the exercise by a guided missile frigate, INS Trikand with integral helicopter and a team of marine commandos. The RN would be represented by HMS Iron Duke, an auxiliary vessel, a nuclear submarine and other shore based assets.
KONKAN 2015, the 10th edition in KONKAN series, will be conducted from 05 – 11 Sep 15, in two phases. The harbour phase at Devonport will involve professional exchanges, exercise planning conferences, sporting fixtures and socio-cultural events. The elaborate sea phase to be held off the South Coast of UK, will involve surface, sub-surface and air exercises of varying complexities. Explosive Ordinance Teams of both navies will also participate in the exercise.
The benefits of our operational interaction are clearly visible as both the Navies today have an improved and steadfast understanding. KONKAN 15 will further enhance our capability to work together at sea in complex situations and also contribute towards maritime security in the global commons.