Visakhapatnam: For the first time during the India-Australia biennial maritime naval exercise AUSINDEX, submarine warfare exercise has been included this year. The biennial exercise AUSINDEX, which is being held in Visakhapatnam for the second time since 2015, has also become more complex with more ships and personnel involved. 

Around 2,000 navy personnel from the two countries are taking part in AUSINDEXX, which is taking place from April 2 till April 14. This year, 55 American military personnel and 20 military personnel from New Zealand embarked on board the Australian naval ships would also be witnessing the exercises.

In this regard, a joint media interaction was held on Friday on board INS Sahyadri, which was addressed by Commanding Officer of the Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral Suraj Berry and Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead. Securing the seas from major threats such as piracy and terrorism is the primary aim of this exercise.

Rear Admiral Berry said, “Our national interest wants us to ensure that the seas are safe and stable as trade and energy lines are present. Therefore, good relations, cooperation and interoperability with like-minded countries is needed to secure the seas for growth and development and counter piracy and terrorism and also prevent pollution of the seas. Signing of the Technical Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange in 2015 had marked a key step in maritime cooperation.”

Rear Admiral Mead said, “Compared to the last time, we have accelerated the complexity of the exercise and we have got four participating ships and one submarine, while in 2015, we had brought three ships. In 2015, roughly 400 personnel participated in the first edition of AUSINDEX, while around 1,000 personnel have come this time. I find both the navies are very professional and confident to carry on the exercises to the next level. The volume of exercises is also growing from 11 friendly exchanges in 2014 to 39 joint interactions in 2018."

The exercises this year shall cover all three dimensions comprising anti-submarine warfare exercises, air defence exercises, anti-surface warfare exercises, including live fire drills, replenishment at sea, and cross-deck flying.

In the ongoing edition of AUSINDEX, the Indian Navy is being represented by INS Ranvijay, a multi-role destroyer, INS Sahyadri, a multi-role stealth frigate, INS Kora, a missile corvette, INS Kiltan, an anti-submarine warfare corvette and INS Sindhukirti, a conventional submarine, in addition to embarked helicopters such as Seaking Mk 42B and Chetak, Hawk fighter jets, Dornier and P8I aircraft.

The Royal Australian Navy is represented by HMAS Canberra, an amphibious assault ship, HMAS New Castle and HMAS Parramatta, both frigates, HMAS Collins, a conventional submarine and HMAS Success, a replenishment tanker. The Australian version of P8A and ASW helicopter would also be participating.