Six Indian parliamentarians toured the UK’s brand new aircraft carrier, HMS Prince of Wales, on the 16th of January 2020 as part of the UK-India Chevening Parliamentarian Fellowship Programme.
Just to nip this in the bud before speculation starts, the vessel is NOT being sold to India. Last year, BAE Systems offered its Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier design to the Indian Navy. They did not offer India one of the currently in service British vessels, just the design.
The Indian Government is understood to have a requirement for a carrier in the 65,000 tonne range, similar to HMS Queen Elizabeth, to be known as the INS Vishal.
BAE Systems said:
“BAE Systems is pleased to have begun discussions with India about the potential for basing development of the second Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-2) project on the Queen Elizabeth class design. The design is adaptable to offer either ski-jump or catapult launch and can be modified to meet Indian Navy and local industry requirements.”
HMS Prince of Wales is one of two Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers and was commissioned on the 10th of December 2019. Its sister aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will operate in the Indian Ocean Region on her first operational deployment in 2021, say the Ministry of Defence in a news release.
The following is an excerpt from the aforementioned news release.
“The parliamentarians are in the UK for a week, focusing on five UK-India priorities: climate change, public healthcare, parliamentary democracy, finance, and defence and security. They were also hosted in the House of Lords, met the Chief Executive of University College London Hospital, and discussed cybersecurity at the University of Portsmouth.
The Chevening Parliamentarian Fellowship Programme is a week long programme in the UK which gives Indian MPs the opportunity to discuss key contemporary issues impacting the world with counterparts and other senior interlocutors in the UK. The MPs are meeting the UK’s top opinion formers and decision-makers to exchange ideas, solutions and develop future networks and contacts. The tailor-made programme focuses on leadership, international relations, social and public policy as well as issues relevant to both India and the UK such as clean energy, health, education and smart cities. The programme is hosted by London School of Economics (LSE).”