HMS Queen Elizabeth leads other ships on Carrier Strike Group 21 191021 CREDIT MOD
HMS Queen Elizabeth leading ships during CSG21 (Picture: MOD).
CSG21

Namaste! UK Carrier Strike Group arrives in India for second round of engagements

The homeward-bound CSG21 recently left the Pacific and has now passed the midway point of its journey.

HMS Queen Elizabeth leads other ships on Carrier Strike Group 21 191021 CREDIT MOD
HMS Queen Elizabeth leading ships during CSG21 (Picture: MOD).

The UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG21) has arrived in India for a second round of engagements after recently passing the halfway point of its journey.

Led by Royal Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the CSG21 left the Pacific in the last few days, after spending recent months of its maiden deployment in the Indo-Pacific.

Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, tweeted his admiration for the partnership between the UK and India, saying: "The UK and India benefit from a unique living bridge of people, ideas, institutions, arts and culture.

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"We are proud to play our part in continuing to grow and deepen the UK-India relationship. #strongertogether."

In July, the navies from the UK and India participated in a two-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with CSG21 in the Bay of Bengal as the carrier was passing through.

As part of the exercises, both navies familiarised themselves with each other's weapons, equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures for carrying out joint military operations.

According to the MOD, regular Indian Navy-Royal Navy interactions over the past years have helped in enhancing the navies' professional content, interoperability, and adaptability in various security scenarios.

In April, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace spoke about the Strike Group's deployment allowing relations with India to "flourish".

CSG21 is a 28-week deployment and the largest concentration of maritime and airpower to leave the UK in a generation.

As part of a greater strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific region, the maiden deployment will now see the UK conduct joint exercises with India, securing passage through trade routes and attending trade events at west coast ports.

The Defence Secretary, in April, said: "The UK and India are natural defence partners, particularly in world-class research, development and training.

"The Carrier Strike Group's collaboration with India will build the foundations for this relationship to flourish even further.

"The deployment is a symbol of Global Britain in action, and powerfully demonstrates our commitment to India, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order."

Watch: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says "we are not going to the other side of the world to be provocative".

CSG21 took part in a number of exercises while in the Pacific, including quad carrier operations alongside two US Navy strike groups that included a Japanese carrier.

The formation, which set sail from the UK in May, also navigated through the disputed South China Sea and carried out training with Singapore's military there.

About two weeks before that, China accused the UK of "evil intentions" as HMS Richmond, part of the Strike Group, sailed through the Taiwan Strait.

After a logistics stop in Singapore, the formation set sail west last week and units from the CSG21 have exercised with vessels from the US, Japan and Australia in the Bay of Bengal.

The Strike Group is expected to take part in joint maritime exercises and other engagements during the visit to India, before heading to the Gulf as the ships continue their homeward journey.

HMS Defender tweeted: "Looking forward to deepening the relationship with this important partner over the coming days by hosting a number of events" while in Mumbai.

The first of those was on Friday, as she hosted "the best of defence and security technology and capabilities" at the UK Defence and Security Industry Day.