Bilateral maritime exercise between India, Australia starts at Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam Sept. 11 (ANI): The inaugural Bilateral Maritime Exercise between India and Australia, AUSINDEX-15 is being conducted off the East Coast of India from September 11 to September 15 here.

The exercise was jointly inaugurated by Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, Head Navy Capability Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Rear Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet onboard INS Shivilak at Visakhapatnam.

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.

The week-long Bilateral Maritime Exercise comprising RAN ships HMAS Sirius (Fleet tanker), HMAS Arunta (Anzac class frigate), and HMAS Sheean (Collins class submarine) arrived Visakhapatnam on Friday.

The Indian Navy was represented by INS Shivalik (stealth frigate), INS Ranvijay (guided missile destroyer) and INS Shakti (Fleet tanker). In addition, one Royal Australian Air Force P3C Orion surveillance aircraft and Indian Navy’s P8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft will operate from Chennai during the exercise.

The exercise is aimed at strengthening professional interaction, both in harbour and at the sea. It would be a start for attaining interoperability between the two navies.

Both navies have a mutual interest in promoting peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean and this is a natural progress of our Navy-to-Navy relationship, given the shared maritime security interests.

The exercise started with a Harbour Phase encompassing briefings and practical demonstrations along with professional interactions. This would progress to a sea phase which would include fleet manoeuvres, gun firings as well as coordinated anti-submarine exercises.

The AUSINDEX would be a biennial event intended to strengthen maritime cooperation between the nations and further the ability to undertake regional joint and combined operations such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. (ANI)

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