Navy Chief visiting Britain

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New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Indian Navy chief, Admiral R.K. Dhowan on Monday began a visit to Britain to consolidate existing Maritime Cooperation initiative as well as explore new avenues, an official statement said on Monday.

The visit, which will conclude on March 10, also aims on taking forward the vision statement, prepared during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Britain visit in November last year, which among other things, says the two countries want to to work “more closely together” to respond to the threats of terrorism and extremism, cyber-attacks, nuclear proliferation, and violent conflict.

Admiral Dhowan during his visit will hold discussions with the British defence secretary, the First Sea Lord, chief of defence staff, and the other senior officers of the Royal Navy.

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“India and United Kingdom have several commonalities, which serve as the foundation for closer cooperation and multi-faceted interactions. Both countries are vibrant, secular and multi-cultural democracies,” said the navy statement.

The Indian Navy has had traditional links with the Royal Navy which have come a long way since institutionalisation of various defence fora for enhancing bilateral relationship between the two countries.

With constitution of the Indo-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) and the Military Sub Group (MSG) in 1995, a two-tier system of cooperation was established to progress various areas of defence cooperation.

In September 2004, the two countries inked a pact to embark upon a strategic partnership in which defence cooperation figure prominently. Establishment of Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks’ forum, officially referred to as Executive Steering Group (ESG) is the main mechanism of enhancing cooperation between the two navies.

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Indian Navy and Royal Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS); a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by the Indian Navy in 2008. Conduct of the Exercise ‘KONKAN 15’ from September 5 to 11 of Plymouth was the continuation of a long standing series of exercise between the two navies. The two navies also interact on a host of issues like training, doctrinal concepts, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) among others.

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