India, Australia navy exercise to promote stability in Indo-Pacific

Bangkok: Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the sidelines of 16th India-ASEAN Summit in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov 4, 2019. (Photo: IANS/PIB)

New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) India and Australia are conducting a joint maritime exercise to consolidate their shared commitment to regional and global security challenges and promote peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The Indian Navy Task Group comprising INS Shivalik and Kadmatt, under the command of Eastern Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, is participating in the fourth edition of AUSINDEX from September 6 to September 10.

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Anzac Class Frigate, HMAS Warramunga, which participated in exercise Malabar along with the Indian Navy units, is part of the exercise.

“This edition of AUSINDEX includes complex surface, sub-surface, and air operations between ships, submarines, helicopters and Long Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the participating Navies,” an Indian Navy statement said.

The participating Indian Naval Ships Shivalik and Kadmatt are the latest indigenously-designed and built guided missile stealth frigate, and anti-submarine corvette, respectively.

They form part of the Eastern Fleet based at Visakhapatnam under the Eastern Naval Command.

Commenced in 2015 as a bilateral maritime exercise, AUSINDEX has grown in complexity over the years and the 3rd edition of the exercise, held in 2019 in the Bay of Bengal, included anti-submarine drills for the first time.

In the fourth edition, the surface units of both the countries will be exercising with HMAS Rankin, a Collins Class Australian Submarine, Royal Australian Air Force P-8A and F-18A aircraft, along with integral helicopters of both the navies.

The exercise will provide an opportunity for both navies to further bolster inter-operability, gain from best practices and develop a common understanding of procedures for maritime security operations, the statement said.

It is a true representation of Joint Guidance signed by the Indian Navy chief and Royal Australian Navy chief on August 18, aligned to the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ between the two nations and aims to further consolidate shared commitment to regional and global security challenges promoting peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region, it added.

The conduct of this exercise despite Covid restrictions is also a testimony of existing synergy between the participating Navies, the statement said.

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