The Indian Navy and HMS Queen Elizabeth-led UK Carrier Strike Group (CSG)-21 have successfully completed a two-day bilateral passing exercise (PASSEX).

The bilateral maritime exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal on 21-22 July.

The exercise also included the participation of UK Type 23 frigates, an Astute-class submarine, and other surface combatants.

Indian Navy ships Satpura, Jyoti,Kavaratti, Ranvir, Kulish, and a submarine took part in PASSEX.

The anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capable long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft P-8I also participated in the exercise.

PASSEX was designed to improve joint operation capabilities of the two navies in the maritime domain.

The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) noted that the exercise also saw the first-time participation of the F-35 Lightning, which operated from HMS Queen Elizabeth’s deck.

According to the MoD, regular Indian Navy-Royal Navy interactions over the past years have helped in enhancing the navies’ professional content, interoperability, and adaptability in various security scenarios.

The MoD said: “The inter-operability achieved over the years has ensured a quantum jump in the complexity and scale of professional exchanges, which is being further enhanced by the presence of the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean.”

In July last year, the US Navy’s nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) ,along with its CSG, conducted a PASSEX exercise with the Indian Navy.