Sir Ben Key First Sea First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff, Royal Navy is visiting India on a two-day official visit from 02 – 03 Mar 23 to participate in Raisina Dialogue at Delhi. During the visit, on 02 Mar 23, Sir Ben Key paid homage at National War Memorial and laid a wreath. He also interacted with Adm R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff on 02 Mar 23. The discussions encompassed various issues of common interest and included maritime capability development and greater naval cooperation to further enhance the interoperability between the two navies to address emerging threats. The discussions emphasized on the significance accorded by both countries for a collaborative approach towards maritime security in Indo-Pacific.
The bilateral relationship between India and UK was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership’ in 2004 and was further strengthened through reciprocal visits by the Hon’ble Prime Ministers of both countries. The Indian Navy – Royal Navy cooperation have been steered in accordance UK-India Joint statement announced during PM Boris Johnson’s visit to India in April 2022, in the joint statement both Prime Ministers had reiterated their commitment to transform defence and security cooperation as a key pillar of the India-UK Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
The engagements between Indian Navy and Royal Navy include operational interactions such as the Bilateral Exercise KONKAN and Joint Services Exercise Konkan Shakti, training exchanges and exchange of Maritime Information and Subject Matter Experts in various fields. In addition, warships from both Navies regularly make port calls at each other’s ports, especially after the increased significance of the Indo-Pacific region. The Visit of the First Sea Lord Sir Ben Key is another noteworthy aspect of the Navy to Navy relations and is a consolidation of growing engagements between both the navies.