For the First Time, India & EU Engage in Joint Naval Drills in the Gulf of Guinea

India’s and the EU’s vessels conducted joint activities in the Gulf of Guinea to reinforce navy-specific maritime security cooperation and extend regional support.

On 24 Oct 2023, India and the EU conducted their first-ever joint naval exercise in the waters of the Gulf of Guinea. The exercise followed the third EU-India Maritime Security Dialogue meeting on 5 Oct 2023, held in Brussels.

EU and India conduct joint naval drills
Credits: PIB

At the time of the exercise, INS Sumedha to the Indian Navy, an Offshore Patrol Vessel, was reportedly joined by vessels of three EU Member States in the Gulf of Guinea: an Italian Navy vessel named ITS Foscari, a French Navy Ship dubbed the FS Ventôse, and one from the Spanish Navy Ship titled Tornado. The four practised a set of tactical manoeuvers in the international waters off the coast of Ghana, including boarding and flying exercises with the helicopters that embarked on the French Ship dubbed the Ventôse and Indian Naval Ship titled Sumedha and the transfer of personnel between vessels.

The exercise was followed by a comprehensive knowledge-sharing session based in Ghana’s Accra, built on the collaborative experience at sea to enhance operational know-how. The session helped deepen the ties between relevant Ghanaian officials and other representatives of the EU, Indian, and EU Member States programs in Ghana.

The activities pointed to the shared commitment of the EU and India to supporting coastal States and the Yaoundé Architecture in establishing maritime safety and security in the Gulf of Guinea. They reflected the dynamism and breadth of EU and India’s cooperation on maritime security. Also, they signalled the common determination to uphold the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (abbreviated the UNCLOS).

References: PIB, Deccan Herald

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