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Amid China’s posturing in high seas, India, Australia begin naval exercise

The exercise will provide both the navies an opportunity to strengthen joint defence capabilities in support of a stable and secure Indo-Pacific region.

SNS | New Delhi |

Amid China’s growing assertiveness on maritime issues, the Navies of India and Australia have started their biennial ”AUSINDEX” maritime warfare exercise in Darwin under Australia’s Northern Territory to further enhance their interoperability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The exercise, which began yesterday, will conclude on 13 September. It will provide both the navies an opportunity to strengthen joint defence capabilities in support of a stable and secure Indo-Pacific region.

Rear Admiral Tarun Sobti, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet, said the exercise would build on the recent navy-to-navy warfare training that was conducted during Phase One of Exercise ”MALABAR 21” off Guam.

“This exercise will further strengthen the bilateral partnership and interoperability with the Royal Australian Navy in the Indo-Pacific region. We are looking forward to adopting best practices from the RAN and to build on the warfare training standards achieved in Exercise MALABAR 21,” he said.

Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Mark Hammond said that the fourth iteration of AUSINDEX will deepen the defence relationship between the two nations. “Australia and India are comprehensive strategic partners. We share a commitment to increasing the regularity and complexity of our military training so we can be confident in our ability to work effectively to respond to the maritime security needs in our region,” he was quoted as saying by the Australian defence Ministry.

Indian Navy’s platforms like INS Shivalik and INS Kadmatt are participating along with the Australian Navy frigate HMAS Warramunga.

The ships will be joined by an Australian submarine, a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, RAAF tactical fighter jets, as well as embarked helicopters from both navies.

The two countries first held maritime exercise in 2015. The previous edition of AUSINDEX was held in the Bay of Bengal in 2019, which saw the first anti-submarine warfare exercises and also the first coordinated P‑8 maritime patrol aircraft missions.