AUSINDEX-19 begins: India and Australia work to keep Indian Ocean free and open

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Published: April 2, 2019 5:59:30 PM

According to Australia's High Commissioner in India Harinder Sidhu, the exercise is part of the strong and growing Australia-India strategic partnership.

AUSINDEX 19, India, Australia, Royal Australian Navy, Indian Ocean, Indian Navy, Visakhapatnam, SAGAR, Australia maritime securityThe two countries have extensive maritime zones in the Indian Ocean and significant maritime capabilities, and the two countries are working together to make sure that the Indian Ocean remains open and inclusive.

With the aim to further strengthen cooperation and interoperability between the navies of India and Royal Australian Navy, the third edition of AUSINDEX -19, has started on Tuesday. The personnel of both sides will get an opportunity to interact and exchange professional views during the fortnight long exercise. With this edition India and Australia’s shared maritime security interest in the Indian Ocean is expected to go to the next level of bilateral exercise.

According to Australia’s High Commissioner in India Harinder Sidhu, the exercise is part of the strong and growing Australia-India strategic partnership.

The two countries have extensive maritime zones in the Indian Ocean and significant maritime capabilities, and the two countries are working together to make sure that the Indian Ocean remains open and inclusive. Both sides are sending a large number of units in the bilateral exercise are the highest till date.

HMAS Canberra (L02), a Landing Helicopter Dock, HMAS New Castle and HMAS Parramatta, both frigates; HMAS Collins, a conventional submarine and HMAS Success (OR 304), a Durance-class multi-product replenishment oiler have reached Visakhapatnam.

The first edition of the exercise took place in September 2015 at Visakhapatnam, which was followed by the second edition being held in Australia off Freemantle in June 2017, where ships from the Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy participated with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships and submarines.

Such exercises, according to the official spokesperson of the Indian Navy, are strengthening bilateral and defence cooperation between India and Australia as envisaged in the Framework for Security Cooperation (FSC) announced by Prime Ministers of both sides in 2014.

The two countries have been getting closer in the defence relations since 2006 when both signed Memorandum of Defence Cooperation and 2009 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation. This was followed by the FSC when the cooperation became more focused.

The complexity in the exercises has increased over a period of time. The 3rd edition will focus on ASW and would involve all three dimensions.

According to the Indian Navy, the increased scale of participation signifies the importance attached to the exercise by both countries while the enhanced complexity is indicative of the interoperability between the two navies.

Overall, the exercise underscores India’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and shared objectives of the two countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and solidarity with friendly and harmonious countries.

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