The U.K. is “accepting” the offer made by India to place a liaison officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre (IFC) for the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) in Gurugram and “we hope to have the individual in post very soon”, Admiral Tim Fraser, the U.K.’s Vice Chief of Defence Staff, said on Thursday while outlining more practical areas of cooperation beyond information sharing.
“There are many other areas to work on and emerging opportunities for further cooperation, ranging from safety to electric propulsion to cooperation on aircraft carriers. You will be aware that a Royal Navy Destroyer will visit Mumbai next month, where we hope to continue that dialogue on electric propulsion amongst many other opportunities to support Make in India,” said Admiral Fraser. The relationship between the two Navies, natural and long-standing partners, extends “far further” than information sharing, he added, while participating in a discussion on India-U.K. cooperation in IOR, organised jointly by the British High Commission and the Vivekanda International Foundation.
The admiral observed that the IFC would enable development of comprehensive Maritime Domain Awareness and sharing of information on vessels of interest between partner nations. “We see this as something which will deliver real value in terms of its output: it will help us interface and integrate, and in so doing, we can all benefit from each other’s best practices and expertise.”
Admiral Fraser also stated that in 2021, the U.K.’s second aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and the Carrier Strike Group would operate in the Indian Ocean region.
“We are excited by the prospects of an Indian Carrier Task Group together with our Task Group undertaking Exercise Konkan 21, which could be the most complex and sophisticated yet in the Konkan series,” he added.
India and the U.K. have steadily ramped up their military-to-military cooperation in recent years with a flurry of visits and exchanges. In February, during Aero India at Bengaluru, the U.K. made a pitch to India for collaboration in the areas of aircraft carriers and development of 6th generation fighter aircraft technologies.
During the bilateral defence and security equipment talks in April, the two countries renewed the Defence Equipment Memorandum (DEM). The MoU renewed a previous Defence Equipment Cooperation MoU signed on April 1, 1997, which was subsequently renewed on April 20, 2007.