INS Tarkash joins UK's HMS Destroyer in English Channel for Konkan Exercise

Topics India-UK ties

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Indian Navy stealth frigate INS Tarkash joined the UK Royal Navy's HMS Destroyer in the English Channel for their annual Konkan Exercise this week.

Konkan is a long-running exercise designed to test the ability of the two Commonwealth navies to operate side-by-side during war and other crunch scenarios.

The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer, HMS Destroyer, met up with INS Tarkash in unseasonally bleak August weather off the South Coast for the two navies' annual workout called "Exercise Konkan", a Royal Navy statement said.

Both vessels involved are regarded as stealth ships designed to make the minimum impact on an enemy's radar display, with Defender specifically designed to shield a task group from air attack, while the Russian-built Tarkash is a general-purpose frigate bristling with anti-ship/anti-land/anti-air missiles, the Royal Navy noted.

"It is these regular engagements and opportunities to train with other navies that prove our capability to deliver on operations alongside our allies," said Commander Richard Hewitt, the Defender's Commanding Officer.

The exercise typically takes place off the namesake Konkan stretch of coastline in India running for 450 miles along the Western Seaboard and encompassing Mumbai and Goa as the Royal Navy maintains a regular presence in the Indian Ocean.

But when Delhi dispatches its ships on deployments to western Europe, Britain hosts the exercises on its home turf. This month's exercise on Wednesday, coincided with Indian Independence Day celebrations on Thursday.

"And so on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of Indian independence, Defender which only left Portsmouth on Monday at the beginning of a mission to the Pacific Rim linked up with 'stealth frigate' INS Tarkash in conditions more British, than Indian summer," the Royal Navy statement noted.

The two frigates conducted various combined training manoeuvres and serials including involving anti-submarine warfare demonstrations and boarding operations.

The two ships' helicopters a Wildcat from Defender, a Helix from the Tarkash traded places on the respective flight decks, while Indian and British personnel were also encouraged to step into each other's shoes, with a select few spending several hours experiencing life in a different Navy.

"It was interesting to see how culturally different the ship was, but also lots of similarities to our own ship," said Angus Lawrence, a Royal Navy communications specialist Engineering Technician.

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