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Royal Navy warship makes port stop in India as UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action

Royal Navy warship makes port stop in India as UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action

Royal Navy warship HMS Spey made its inaugural visit to India last week when the Batch 2 Offshore Patrol Vessel arrived in Port Blair, the capital city of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Berthed alongside Naval Component Command (NAVCC) headquarters on the outskirts of Port Blair, Royal Navy officials onboard Spey welcomed their Indian military counterparts for planning discussions. Defence Advisor to India, Brigadier Nick Sawyer, hosted a discussion on maritime security challenges and priorities within the Bay of Bengal with Indian Navy Senior Officers, Chief of Staff Andaman and Nicobar Command, Rear Admiral Sandeep Sandhu and Commodore Sugreev.

Lt Cdr Bridget Macnae RN, HMS Spey’s Executive Officer – temporarily in Command, said: “Frequent port visits and multilateral exercises between the Indian Navy and Royal Navy continue to support our ever-expanding relationship and operational interaction and cooperation.

“The UK and India firmly believe in, and promote the Rules Based International System; we share an interest in upholding international maritime law and supporting a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

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UK’s Defence Advisor to India, Brigadier Nick Sawyer said: “We deeply value our relationship with India in a shared endeavour to confront those who challenge the rules-based system and ensure peace and prosperity on and from the sea.

“The sixth visit of Royal Navy ship to India within a year is the clearest demonstration of that as well as the UK’s Indo-Pacific tilt in action.”

HMS Spey followed in the footsteps of sister vessel HMS Tamar. At sea, the warship hosted a number of Indian Navy service personnel onboard whilst the ship conducted a maritime manoeuvre exercise with an Indian Naval patrol vessel further developing operational interoperability between the two nations.

HMS Spey’s crew took the opportunity to explore the Islands rich culture and diversity, whilst also discovering incredible flora and fauna in the national park and swimming alongside rich marine life at many of the idyllic beaches and coves.

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HMS Tamar, alongside HMS Spey, has been on permanent deployment to the Indo-Pacific region since September 2021. In January this year, the former vessel became only the second Royal Navy warship to visit Andaman and Nicobar in three decades as its five-year patrol shifted to the Indian Ocean for the first time.

In March, HMS Lancaster visited the western seaboard of India to participate in Exercise Konkan with the Indian Navy.

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