The navies of the UK and India have begun the annual bilateral maritime exercise Konkan 16 in Mumbai and Goa.

The current iteration of the exercise aims at fortifying the existing bond between the two nations, as well as seeking to enhance interoperability to contribute to maritime security.

The exercise is being held in two phases, the first of which will be conducted as a command planning exercise, where representatives from both the navies will undertake planning for combined maritime operations.

"The participation of Indian Navy MARCOs and Royal Marines would add another dimension to this exercise."

To be conducted as a live exercise (LIVEX) in Goa from 12 to 16 December, the second phase will involve interaction between the IN Marine Commandos (MARCOs) and the British Royal Marines.

A statement posted on the Indian Defence Ministry’s Press Information Bureau read: “Konkan 16 will be an important chapter in the maritime interactions under the aegis of Konkan series as it will familiarise both forces with each other’s planning processes and further enhance synergy and interoperability.”

The statement added: “In addition, participation of Indian Navy MARCOs and Royal Marines would add another dimension to this exercise and provide valuable opportunity for both navies to interact and cooperate in the field of Maritime Security Operations.”

During both the phases, the navies will share best practises and lessons learnt from operations in the field of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO).

Exercise Konkan received its name from the western coastal region of India, and was first started in 2004.