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    Budding Ties: Australia, India to Conduct First Bilateral Maritime Exercise

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    The Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy plan to hold their first-ever joint maritime exercise next month.

    The exercise, called AUSINDEX, will take place in the Indian Navy’s Eastern Fleet exercise area off the coast of Visakhapatnam Port in the Bay of Bengal in mid-September.

    The exercises are due to be held in order to increase maritime security in the region and boost military and maritime cooperation between the two countries.

    “We sit right in the confluence of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. We have a significant responsibility for its security. That’s how we’re looking at it now,” defense adviser at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi Captain Sheldon Williams said as quoted by The Diplomat.

    The navy drills are a sign of growing defense ties between Canberra and New Delhi. Although both the states have participated in multilateral exercises before, including Malabar exercises in 2007 and Milan exercises in 2012, AUSINDEX is the first bilateral maritime exercise between the two nations.

    According to defense reports, Australia is sending Lockheed Martin’s P-3 anti-submarine reconnaissance aircraft, a Collins-class submarine, a tanker, and frigates. India is set to deploy assets including Boeing’s P-8 long-range anti-submarine aircraft and a locally manufactured corvette.

    The exercise will have both sea and shore segments and include table-top exercises, scenario planning, and at sea, surface and anti-submarine warfare.

    Australia’s defense minister, Kevin Andrews, is also in India for a series of high-level meetings this week. Regarding his visit to India, the minister said that he looked forward to “identifying a range of new ideas to increase our existing defense cooperation.”

    Speaking more precisely about AUSINDEX, Andrews described it as “a strong signal of both countries’ commitment to building defense relations.”


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