Indian Navy stealth frigate INS Tarkash joined the UK Royal Navy's HMS Destroyer in the English Channel for their annual Konkan Exercise this week. Konkan is a long-running exercise designed to test the ability of the two Commonwealth navies to operate side-by-side during war and other crunch scenarios. The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer, HMS Destroyer, met up with INS Tarkash in unseasonally bleak August weather off the South Coast for the two navies' annual workout called "Exercise Konkan", a Royal Navy statement said.
- Both vessels involved are regarded as "stealth" ships designed to make the minimum impact on an enemy's radar display, with Defender specifically designed to shield a task group from air attack, while the Russian-built Tarkash is a general-purpose frigate bristling with anti-ship/anti-land/anti-air missiles.
- It is these regular engagements and opportunities to train with other navies that prove our capability to deliver on operations alongside our allies.
- The exercise typically takes place off the namesake Konkan stretch of coastline in India - running for 450 miles along the Western Seaboard and encompassing Mumbai and Goa - as the Royal Navy maintains a regular presence in the Indian Ocean.
- But when Delhi dispatches its ships on deployments to western Europe, Britain hosts the exercises on its home turf. This month's exercise, coincided with Indian Independence Day celebrations.
- And so on the eve of the 72nd anniversary of Indian independence, Defender - which only left Portsmouth at the beginning of a mission to the Pacific Rim - linked up with 'stealth frigate' INS Tarkash in conditions more British, than Indian summer.
- The two frigates conducted various combined training manoeuvres and serials including involving anti-submarine warfare demonstrations and boarding operations.
- The two ships' helicopters - a Wildcat from Defender, a Helix from the Tarkash - traded places on the respective flight decks, while Indian and British personnel were also encouraged to step into each other's shoes, with a select few spending several hours experiencing life in a different Navy.