New Delhi: Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM AVSM ADC Chairman COSC and Chief of the Naval Staff is scheduled to visit UK on an official tour from 12 to 15 March 2019. The Indian Navy has had traditional links with the Royal Navy (RN) which have come a long way since institutionalisation of various defence forums for enhancing bilateral relationship between the two countries. With the constitution of the Indo-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) and the Military Sub Group (MSG) in 1995, a two-tier structure 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 figured prominently. The ‘Service-level Staff Talks’ forum, officially referred to as ‘Executive Steering Group’ is the primary mechanism of enhancing cooperation between the two Armed Forces.
Indian Navy and Royal Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008. RN participated in the 10th anniversary celebrations of IONS at Kochi in November 2018. The bilateral naval exercise KONKAN is a significant operational link between the two navies and is held every year, alternately off the coast of India and UK. The two navies also interact on a host of issues like training, doctrinal concepts and Maritime Domain Awareness.
The upcoming visit of Admiral Sunil Lanba, the Chairman COSC and the Chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy to UK will consolidate existing maritime cooperation initiatives as well as explore new avenues. The Admiral’s visit to UK also aims to take forward the vision that was set forth during the visit of our Hon’ble PM to UK in November 2015.
During the three-day visit, Admiral Sunil Lanba is scheduled to hold discussions with the Chief of Defence Staff, UK in London and the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth. Admiral Sunil Lanba is also scheduled to visit the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London, RN Submarine Rescue Facility at Glasgow and interact with the organisers of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo at Edinburgh.