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UK’s Carrier Strike Group led by HMS Queen Elizabeth sails into Bay of Bengal

During the port visit, the CSG will provide a platform for a wide range of cultural demonstrations and trade and investment initiatives.

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New Delhi: The UK’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG), led by HMS Queen Elizabeth – the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history, sailed into the Bay of Bengal on Friday, in its most substantial port visit to date, the British High Commission here said.

During the port visit, the CSG will provide a platform for a wide range of cultural demonstrations and trade and investment initiatives.

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The CSG port visit is a powerful demonstration of the UK-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed by both Prime Ministers in May 2021, it said.

Subsequently, the CSG will take part in the most demanding exercise ever between the UK and India, incorporating elements from all three military services.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth is taller than the Niagara Falls, her propellers generate the power of 50 high-speed trains.

At 65,000 tonnes, she is the largest surface vessel ever constructed in the UK. She leads six Royal Navy ships, a Royal Navy submarine, a US Navy destroyer and a frigate from the Netherlands in the largest concentration of maritime and air power to leave the UK in a generation.

The CSG is manned by 3,700 sailors, aviators and marines from the combined forces of the UK, US and the Netherlands.

It is equipped with the fifth generation F-35B lightening multi-role aircrafts. They are being jointly crewed by the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and the US Marine Corps.

The deployment is a powerful demonstration of the UK’s commitment to deepening its diplomatic, economic and security-based ties in the Indo-Pacific region. India is essential in ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific, the High Commission statement said.

British High Commissioner to India, Alex Ellis said: “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.”

“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.”

First Sea Lord Adm Tony Radakin said: “The CSG’s engagement with India showcases the deepening comprehensive strategic partnership. Both the Indian and the Royal navy are blue-water, multi-carrier navies, which places us in a very exclusive club. 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.”

Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to India, Nepal and Bhutan, Marten van den Berg said: “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 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 defence relations. 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,” he said.

The Netherlands frigate HNLMS Evertsen is part of the UK Carrier Strike Group. The navies of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have been working closely together for years and this joint activity offers a unique opportunity for both forces to integrate and operate together to respond to the global security challenges.

The maiden CSG deployment will travel 26,000 miles, visiting more than 40 countries.

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