Joint exercises are meant to give message to countries trying to stymie freedom of trade, says UK naval official

  • | Thursday | 21st October, 2021

Mumbai, Oct 21 (PTI) As the defense forces of the United Kingdom and India will be holding another round of joint exercises, a senior British naval official on Thursday said the purpose of such exercises was to give a message to the powers which are trying to "stymie freedom of trade". Speaking to reporters onboard the Royal Navy"s HMS Queen Elizabeth, commodore Steve Moorhouse was responding to a question about tensions in the South China Sea. "Such exercises are about giving a message to countries trying to stymie freedom of trade," he said. "They should be demonstrating that democracies that have similar views on the world want to work together to keep peace and stability. That could be in South China Sea, that could be in western Indian Ocean, the gulf of Aden, it could be on the North Sea,” Moorhouse said. “Our exercises with Indian military are the biggest exercises we (have) ever done in India....these are early signs of where we want to go, there will be much much more to continue once we left the region,” he said. While underscoring the common roots in maritime history between the UK and India, he said, “The challenge now for both the partners is to take it forward. Just beyond simple exercises, to get something really complex, constructive, where you can see how you want to use it—whether against piracy in the western Indian Ocean or (to ensure) freedom of trade in further east… It is wherever our governments want us to be," commodore Moorhouse added. On inter-operability of the two navies, he said "traditionally" the Royal Navy can not communicate with the Indian Navy on secured communication channels. "(We) Need to build common protocols, so that Indian ships can replenish from British ships. You got to have common operating procedures. No matter where you meet in the world, you can come together as an alliance, as a group of like minded nations,” he said. "Digital inter-operability" is very important for modern militaries, he added. PTI ND KRK KRK KRK

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