For the first time, two RFA ships, Argus and Lyme Bay, are undergoing maintenance at an Indian shipyard – a direct result of the logistics-sharing agreement signed between the UK and India in 2022.

Both Royal Fleet Auxillary ships, which are assigned to A&P Falmouth under the Cluster Agreement, have been out of the spotlight for several months as they left UK waters in October for the Eastern Mediterranean after the start of the war in Gaza.

The government made no announcements as to the role both ships played in the Mediterranean. Lyme Bay discharged 80 tonnes of humanitarian aid at Port Said in January. The ships steamed down the Red Sea under escort of warships and conducted exercises with the Indian Navy.

The ships are now berthed at the L&T Shipbuilding (Larsen & Toubro) Kattupalli shipyard near Chennai, India.

The yard has comprehensive facilities including a ship lift, multiple dry and wet berths, and is equipped to undertake a full range of maintenance tasks. Following repairs the ships will operate in the Indio-Pacific region training.

The UK launched Defence Partnership-India – a bespoke office designed to further defence collaboration between the two countries. This includes sending the UK’s Littoral Response Group (South) to India for joint exercises and use of the Indian dockyard at Chennai for essential maintenance.

The UK has also announced plans for the Carrier Strike Group 2025 to visit the Indo-Pacific, which includes the intent to operate and train with the Indian Armed Forces.