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Navy chief on four-day visit to UK; to seek greater defence ties

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NEW DELHI (PTI): Navy chief Admiral R K Dhowan on Monday began his four-day visit to the UK during which he will explore new avenues of cooperation in the defence sector.

Dhowan is scheduled to hold discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence, First Sea Lord, Chief of Defence Staff, and the other Senior Officers of the British Royal Navy.

Talking about Dhowan's visit, the Navy said India and the UK have several commonalities, which serve as the foundation for closer cooperation and multi-faceted interactions.

The Indian Navy has had traditional links with the Royal Navy which have come a long way since institutionalisation of various defence fora for enhancing bilateral relationship.

With constitution of the Indo-UK Defence Consultative Group (DCG) and the Military Sub Group (MSG) in 1995, a two-tier system of cooperation was established to take further the progress in various areas of defence cooperation.

In September 2004, the two countries inked a pact to embark upon a strategic partnership in which defence cooperation figures prominently.

Establishment of Navy-to-Navy Staff Talks' forum, officially referred to as the Executive Steering Group (ESG) is the chief mechanism of enhancing cooperation between the two navies.

Indian Navy and Royal Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a Maritime Cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by the Indian Navy in 2008.

The two navies also interact on a host of issues like training, doctrinal concepts, Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

"The ongoing visit of Admiral Dhowan will consolidate on existing maritime cooperation initiative as well as explore new avenues," the Navy said in a statement.

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