Army’s 13th Brigade hosted Indian Armed Forces in Perth and other locations in Western Australia during Exercise Austrahind, an army-to-army collective infantry training activity.
CAPTION: Australian and Indian soldiers manoeuvre from Zodiacs on to a beach at Garden Island in Western Australia as part of Exercise Austrahind 2023. Story by Major Sandra Seman-Bourke. Photos by Sergeant McAneney.
Austrahind 23 included air and maritime elements in a peacekeeping scenario.
As the Indian Ocean-facing representatives of the Australian Army, 13th Brigade is a key player in army-to-army relationships with India.
This year’s iteration of Austrahind followed the success of last year’s exercise, during which 13th Brigade sent a contingent of more than 50 personnel, including three infantry sections and specialists, to India, to train in the Rajasthan Desert.
CAPTION: Australian and Indian soldiers manoeuvre towards a beach at Garden Island via Zodiac during Exercise Austrahind 2023.
Commander 13th Brigade, Brigadier Brett Chaloner, said Exercise Austrahind 23 was an opportunity for the ADF and Indian Armed Forces to share skills, ideas, technology, innovation and culture.
“Enhancing the scope and complexity of our interoperability through our joint military exercises allows us to develop new ways to address shared security challenges, focusing on joint and integrated expeditionary operations within the Indian Ocean region,” he said.
“Australia and India have committed to broadening and deepening defence cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.”
The 13th Brigade soldiers and officers worked side by side with their Indian counterparts, sharing skills and knowledge in tactical drills covering fighting in semi-urban terrain, close-quarter battle and sniper skills.
Commanding Officer of the Indian Armed Forces contingent, Colonel Mayank, said the exercise achieved its objectives.
“The aim of the exercise is to build positive military relations and develop an ability to conduct joint operations,” Colonel Mayank said.
“We have shared our experiences, learnt each other’s tactics, techniques and procedures, and were evolving joint tactical drills.”
In addition to light and vehicle-mounted weapons systems on the ground, a joint live-fire training activity held at Lancelin, north of Perth, demonstrated the fire power of Hawk 127 lead-in fighters from the Royal Australian Air Force’s 79 Squadron, and Royal Australian Navy frigate HMAS Stuart’s five-inch main gun.
“This year provided an opportunity for an exchange of ideas to achieve battle field transparency,” Brigadier Chaloner said.
CAPTION: Australian and Indian soldiers hold an orders group during a simulated insertion activity.
He said the opportunity to work closely with the Indian Armed Forces exceeded expectations and reinforced strong and deep friendships.
“Exercise Austrahind 23 promoted mutual understanding, tactical-level information sharing, and exposing participants to another nation’s military culture to enhance the skills and experiences of soldiers and officers,” Brigadier Chaloner said.
“Against the backdrop of the exercise, soldiers from both sides created a connection beyond expectation, with many reflecting they are now part of a connected community.”
Brigadier Chaloner said the relationship between the Indian and Australian armies continued to strengthen against a backdrop of uncertainty that challenged security and stability in the region.
“Australia and India have committed to a comprehensive strategic partnership, which has seen the two nations increase engagement in the Indian Ocean region since 2020,’’ he said.
“Optimising integration and interoperability between the Australian and Indian Armies, and our respective defence forces, will further develop our land domain strategic partnership.”
CAPTION: Australian and Indian soldiers manoeuvre towards an objective during a training activity.