Mumbai, 01 March 2018
The Western Naval Command of the Indian Navy concluded a large scale operational exercise in the Arabian Sea. The three week long exercise termed Exercise ‘Paschim Leher’ (XPL), tested the operational readiness of the Western Naval Command and the execution of it’s operational plans.
Over 40 naval assets including the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, frontline ships of the Western Fleet and Eastern Fleet (including the newly inducted Kolkata class), submarines, potent missile vessels of the 22nd Killer Squadron, Patrol vessels and craft of the Local Flotilla and Indian Coast Guard participated in the exercise. In addition, the exercise also witnessed intense flying activity by the carrier borne Mig 29 Ks, P-8Is, IL-38SDs, Dorniers as well as Remotely Piloted Aircraft. This exercise also saw enhanced participation by the aircraft of the Indian Air Force, with coordinated flying missions with the IN air assets. Maritime role Jaguars, Su-30 MKI, AWACS, Flight Refuellers participated in large numbers from different airfields in Gujarat, Maharashtra and North India. An amphibious landing was also conducted, which included the participation of the 91 Inf Bde of the Indian Army.
The XPL 2018 enabled testing and revalidation of operational plans and manoeuvres in a hostile maritime scenario on India’s Western Seaboard. Defence of Indian offshore assets, such as oil rigs, escort operations of Indian merchant ships as well as coastal defence, were also rehearsed. The exercise will enable further refine the operational, logistics and administrative plans of the Western Naval Command
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.