India and the EU are conducting naval exercises to maintain rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific region

The European Union (EU) and India held a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden from June 18-19, in line with their growing partnership on maritime security.

The exercise involved the Indian naval frigate Trikand, EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atalanta (link is external), including the Italian frigate Carabiniere (Atalanta’s flagship) and the Spanish frigate Navarra, the French frigate Surcouf and the French amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre.

The exercise was based on an anti-piracy operation scenario. It included helicopter landings over deck, complex tactical developments at sea, sharp shooting, a night joint patrol and a naval parade at sea off the coast of Somalia, the EU said.

The EU and India are committed to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflights, as well as unimpeded legality and peaceful trade Dispute Resolution. They reaffirm the primacy of international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

In January 2021, the EU and India launched a dialogue on maritime safety and agreed to deepen their dialogue and cooperation in this area. The Indian Navy accompanied the ships chartered by the World Food Program, which are coordinated by EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atalanta. The Indian Navy previously attended the Shared Awareness and Deconfliction (SHADE) conference co-hosted by Operation Atalanta, whose assets have historically conducted several joint exercises with Indian ships.

“The EU and India intend to strengthen their operational cooperation at sea, including joint naval exercises and port calls, and to protect the sea routes of communication. They also intend to raise awareness of the maritime domain in the Indo-Pacific through mutual coordination and exchange. The EU and India reaffirm their interest in strengthening their cooperation on maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region, ”the EU statement said.