New Delhi, June 18 : The Indian Navy for the first time is taking part in joint drills with the European Union Naval Force with assets from the French, Spanish and Italian navies participating in the Gulf of Aden.

Indian Naval Ship Trikand, mission deployed for Anti-Piracy Operations, is participating in the maiden joint naval exercise.

"A total of five warships from four navies are participating in the exercise on June 18 and June 19, 2021. Other warships include Italian Navy Ship ITS Carabinere, Spanish Navy Ship ESPS Navarra, and two French Navy Ships FS Tonnerre and FS Surcouf," the Indian Navy said.

The two day exercise will see high tempo naval operations at sea, including advanced air defence and anti-submarine exercises, cross deck helicopter operations, tactical manoeuvres, boarding operations, underway replenishment, Search and Rescue, Man Overboard drills, and other maritime security operations.

The ships of the four navies will endeavour to enhance and hone their war-fighting skills and their ability as an integrated force to promote, peace, security and stability in the maritime domain. Concurrently, a virtual "Information Sharing Exercise" is also being conducted between the Indian Navy Information Fusion Centre, Indian Ocean Region and Maritime Security Centre-Horn of Africa on June 18, 2021.

The European Union Naval Force and the Indian Navy converge on multiple issues including counter piracy operations and protection of vessels deployed under the charter of the World Food Programme (UN WFP).

The Indian Navy and European Union Naval Force also have regular interaction through Shared Awareness and De-confliction (SHADE) meetings held annually at Bahrain.

This engagement showcases increased levels of synergy, coordination and inter-operability between the two forces.

It also underscores the shared values as partner navies, in ensuring freedom of seas and commitment to an open, inclusive and a rules-based international order.

The European Union Naval Force (Op Atalanta) Somalia - Operation Atalanta was launched on December 8, 2008 and is conducted in accordance with the United Nations Security Council resolutions.

It's mission is to protect vessels of the World Food Programme (WFP) and other vulnerable shipping and deter, prevent and repress piracy and armed robbery at sea.

As a secondary task, Operation Atalanta monitors fishing activities off the coast of Somalia and contributes to the monitoring of weapons and drug trafficking, illicit charcoal trade and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, the website of the EU Naval Force says.

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