The first of what is hoped will be a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between India and Australia started with an opening ceremony in Visakhapatnam, India, over the weekend.
AUSINDEX15 will build on personal and inter-Defence relationships developed in recent years through a ‘Framework for Security Cooperation’.
Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews said India was the emerging democratic super power of Asia and it was therefore sensible that the relationship between India and Australia be developed and strengthened.
“This 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,” Mr Andrews said.
Head of Australian Navy Capability Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead joined India’s Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet Rear Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh to mark the start of the exercise.
“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.”
Two Royal Australian Navy ships, a submarine and a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C made the passage to India for the inaugural biennial exercise.
HMA Ships Sirius, Arunta and Submarine Sheehan will train with Indian Navy Ships Shivalik, Ranvijayi and Shakti, along with P-8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft during the week-long activity.
The exercise proper started 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,” he said.
AUSINDEX15 is being held in the Bay of Bengal off Visakhapatnam on India’s east coast.