New Delhi: India and Austrlia will today begin their first bilateral naval exercise that will focus on anti-submarine warfare as the two countries look at deepening defence cooperation especially in the Indian Ocean.
The joint exercise, AUSINDEX-15, will be conducted off the East Coast of India from September 11-19.
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, a Navy statement said.
The week-long Bilateral Maritime Exercise comprising Royal Australian Navy ships Sirius (Fleet tanker), Arunta (Anzac class frigate), and (Collins class submarine) reached Visakhapatnam today.
The Indian Navy would be 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 sea and 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 our shared maritime security interests, the statement said.
The exercise will start 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/or combined operations such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.