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Three Australian ships arrive in Visakhapatnam for naval exercise

The Royal Australian Navy's Anzac class frigate HMAS Arunta enters the Visakhpatnam Harbour on Friday. --- Photo: K.R. Deepak

The Royal Australian Navy's Anzac class frigate HMAS Arunta enters the Visakhpatnam Harbour on Friday. --- Photo: K.R. Deepak  

After a decade of planning, the first bilateral maritime exercise between Australia and India is all set to begin here on Saturday. It is now planned to be a biennial event. The exercise will strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries as envisaged in the Framework for Security Cooperation announced by the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers in 2014.

Three Royal Australian Navy ships — fleet tanker HMAS Sirius, Anzac class frigate HMAS Arunta, and Collins class submarine HMAS Sheean — docked at the Visakhapatnam Port on Friday to participate in the week-long AUSINDEX.

The Indian Navy would be represented by stealth frigate INS Shivalik, guided missile destroyer INS Ranvijay, and fleet tanker INS Shakti.

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 will include tabletop exercises, scenarios and practical demonstrations ashore, and a sea phase.

“At sea, surface and anti-submarine warfare and coordinated anti-submarine exercises will be conducted,” Australia’s Head of Navy Capability Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead told the media at the Mahatma Gandhi Docks where the three Australian ships were berthed.

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.

The AUSINDEX would be a biennial event and would further the ability to undertake regional joint and/or combined operations such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief, a press statement from both Australian and Indian Navies said.

Visakhapatnam coast was selected in view of its importance on the Eastern Seaboard and also taking into view the economics and logistics involved, Rear Admiral Mead said. “The Australian ships have not been exposed to the conditions of Bay of Bengal and the exercise would be a learning experience,” Rear Admiral Mead said.

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Printable version | Feb 22, 2020 10:08:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/three-australian-ships-arrive-in-visakhapatnam-for-naval-exercise/article7642831.ece

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