India and Australia have commenced the first bilateral maritime exercise, Ausindex15, in Visakhapatnam, India, strengthening defence cooperation between the countries.
Building on the personal relationship of Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Abbott, the Minister for Defence, the Honourable Kevin Andrews MP, recently visited India to further develop, with his counterpart Minster Manohar Parrikar, the Framework for Security Cooperation.
“India is the emerging democratic super power of Asia. It is therefore sensible that the relationship between India and Australia be developed and strengthened,” Mr Andrews said.
The maritime exercise is a tangible sign that will strengthen defence co-operation between the two countries as envisaged in the Framework for Security Co-operation announced by the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers in 2014.
Head Navy Capability, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, joined India’s Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh,VSM, to mark the occasion.
“India is a key security partner in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“Both our navies have a mutual interest in promoting peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean and this is a natural progression of our Navy-to-Navy relationship, given our shared maritime security interests.”
Three Royal Australian Navy vessels and a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C have made the passage to India for the inaugural biennial exercise. HMA Ships Sirius, Arunta and Sheean will train with Indian Navy Ships Shivalik, Ranvijayi and Shakti, along with P-8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft during the week-long activity.
The exercise will start with briefings and practical demonstrations ashore, before progressing to sea.
“At sea, surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises will be conducted and there will also be the opportunity for aviation cross deck operations,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“The Royal Australian Navy values the deepening engagement with the Indian Navy.
“This will strengthen our relationship and further our ability to undertake regional joint and/or combined operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief,” he said.