UK Strike Force joins Indian and Quad navies to put a stamp on Indo-Pacific

By Hindustan times

The Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group will bring the focus on Quad and the Indo-Pacific when the naval force exercises with Indian Navy’s Rajput class guided missile destroyer, an attack submarine and anti-submarine warfare aircraft in the Bay of Bengal while enroute to the contested South China Sea.

An armada of 12 warships, more than 30 aircraft, two submarines and over 4,500 personnel from Indian and Royal Navy will exercise from July 22-23 under the annual Exercise Konkan rubric.

The Elizabeth CSG is on a maiden deployment with state of the art F-35B fighters on board and is accompanied by top of the line destroyers from the US and Netherlands. The CSG after exercising with Indian Navy will head towards the Indo-Pacific and exercise with Japanese, South Korean, New Zealand and Australian Navies.

The Elizabeth CSG deployment is part of Britain’s Indo-Pacific tilt post-Brexit and dovetails into Quad coalition of democracies efforts to stand up to the Chinese Navy’s growing ambitions and aggression in the Indo-Pacific.

As a part of this effort, Britain has decided to permanently station two of its patrol boats in the Indo-Pacific in an order to ensure freedom of navigation and rule of law in the sea.

The Elizabeth CSG will be exercising with Japanese maritime forces and will make a port call to Yokosuka, the homeport of USS Ronald Reagan, the only forwardly deployed super carrier of the US.

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