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With Indian Ocean sea lanes as focus, India and the European Union begin first naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden

INS Trikand

Indian Naval Ship Trikand is participating in two-day naval drills in the Gulf of Aden with the navies of France, Spain and Italy–a move that comes at a time when Europe is showing keen interest to bond with India in the  Indian Ocean Regfion (IOR).

This is the first time that India has joined the European Union Naval Force Somalia, EUNAVFOR–the EU's counter-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia-for a joint military exercise. Apart from the Indian Ocean, the European heavyweights have begun to focus on the broader Indo-Pacific Region, fast emerging as the world's geo-economic center. Simultaneously,  "a  virtual 'Information sharing Exercise' is also being conducted between the Indian Navy Information Fusion Centre–Indian Ocean Region and Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa ( MSCHOA) on 18 June 21.


The MSCHOA  provides a key link between the EU NAVFOR and seafarers, facilitating,  freedom of navigation an trade through this strategic High Risk Area that covers the piracy hit seas in the Somalia- Gulf of Aden area. The IFC-IOR , based in Gurugram in India monitors White shipping in the IOR  to help ensure safety of  commercial shipping lanes in the region. It is a collaborative body where respresntatives of friendly countries are also present.

The on-going exercie is taking place in the piracy-hit Gulf of Aden,which is located on the  mouth of the Red Sea–a key gateway linking Europe withe the rest of the world via the Suez Canal. The joint manoeuvres that has five ships from four countries will focus on improving operational interoperability between navies, promote, peace, security and stability in the key waterways. The exercise features advanced air defence and anti-submarine drills, cross-deck helicopter operations, tactical manoeuvres and search and rescue missions.

Besides the Trikand, the warships include the Italian Navy ship ITS Carabinere, Spanish ship ESPS Navarra, and French Navy ships FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf.

A press release by the Ministry of Defence said: "The two day exercise will see high tempo-naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, cross deck helicopter operations, tactical manoeuvres, boarding operations, underway replenishment, Search & Rescue, Man Overboard drills, and other maritime security operations. Ships of 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."

Also read:  India, Indonesia discuss joint patrols in Malacca straits to advance defence and maritime ties

The EUNAVFOR and the Indian Navy have been working together in the vital trading region on issues like counter-piracy operations and protection of vessels deployed under the UN's World Food Programme (UN-WFP). 

Also read:  India, Australia to hold 2+2 ministerial talks to counter China's challenge in Indo-Pacific