December 2021
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National News
UK’s carrier strike group enters Bay of Bengal
New Delhi, The United Kingdom’s carrier strike group (CSG), led by the warship HMS Queen Elizabeth, has sailed into the Bay of Bengal, making its second voyage in the past three months, demonstrating an expansion of the strategic partnership between the two countries, the British High Commission informed on Friday.

The High Commission said the CSG will take part in the most demanding exercises to date between Britain and India, incorporating all three elements of military services.

“In its most substantial port visit to date, the CSG will also provide a platform for a wide range of cultural demonstrations and trade and investment initiatives,” it added.

According to the UK, the deployment of CSG is a powerful demonstration of the country’s commitment to deepening its diplomatic, economic and security-based ties in the Indo-Pacific region since India is essential in ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

“India is an essential partner for the UK in the Indo-Pacific region. The Carrier Strike Group’s visit demonstrates the deepening of the UK and India’s defence and security partnership,” British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis said on the development.

“Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson agreed to work in lockstep for our shared security and prosperity. This visit will boost the cooperation of our armed forces and show the living bridge connecting our people,” he added.

First Sea Lord Adm Tony Radakin said both the Indian and the Royal navy are blue-water, multi-carrier navies, which places us in a very exclusive club.

“The CSG’s engagement with India showcases the deepening comprehensive strategic partnership. Our growing interactions are a testimony to the shared commitment to rules-based international system, a belief in the values of open trade, and in the importance of the freedom of the high seas – a right conveyed on all nations,” he added.

Ambassador of Netherlands to India, Nepal and Bhutan, Marten van den Berg, noted the “crucial role” India plays in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The Indian Ocean is a gateway for Europe into the Indo-Pacific and The Netherlands definitely recognizes the increasing importance of the Indo-Pacific region and the crucial role of India in this region. The visit to the port of Mumbai by HNLMS Evertsen is a confirmation of our long standing strong relationship and a step towards enhancement of the Netherlands and India’s defense relations,” he said.

“The participation of HNLMS Evertsen in the UK Carrier Strike Group provides the Royal Netherlands Navy a unique opportunity for the operations and training with allies and partners and to enhance diplomatic, security and economic ties while visiting different countries along the CSG route.

"The Netherlands and India are like-minded partners and are committed to an effective multilateralism. The visit definitely reaffirms support to the rules-based international order and shares the common principles of security, stability and freedom of navigation by both nations,” the ambassador added.

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