UK to deploy warships, aircraft carrier for Indian Ocean joint training

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Wednesday it would send warships to the Indian Ocean later this year and an aircraft carrier to the region in 2025 for joint training and operations with Indian forces as the two countries strengthen their security ties.

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said the Royal Navy’s Littoral Response Group would visit the Indian Ocean region this year and its Carrier Strike Group the next.

“There is absolutely no question that the world is becoming increasingly contested, so it’s vital that we continue to build on our strategic relationships with key partners like India,” Shapps said in a statement as his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh visited Britain.

“Together we share the same security challenges and are steadfast on our commitment to maintaining a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”

Britain and India will also conduct more complex joint military exercises in the coming years, in support of their shared goal of protecting trade routes and ensuring maritime security, the British Ministry of Defence said.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout and Sachin Ravikumar; editing by William James)