Visakhapatnam, Sept 11: The first bilateral maritime exercise between India and Australia codenamed AUSINDEX-15 began off the East Coast of India from Friday.
Naval Spokesperson Capt D K Sharma said that the nine-day the exercise is a tangible sign that will strengthen defence co-operation between both two countries.
"The exercise is being held as envisaged in the Framework for Security Co-operation announced by Prime Ministers of India and Australia in 2014," Capt Sharma said.
He said the exercise will start with a ‘Harbour Phase' encompassing briefings and practical demonstrations along with professional interactions.
This would progress to a Sea Phase which would include Fleet manoeuvres, gun firings as well as coordinated anti-submarine exercises.
The exercise scheduled to be held till September 19 was jointly inaugurated by Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, Head Navy Capability Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Rear Admiral Ajendra Bahadur Singh, Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet onboard INS Shivilak at Visakhapatnam.
The Australian Navy comprises RAN ships HMAS Sirius (Fleet tanker), HMAS Arunta (Anzac class frigate), and HMAS Sheean (Collins class submarine).
Doing the duties for Indian Navy are INS Shivalik (stealth frigate), INS Ranvijay (guided missile destroyer) and INS Shakti (Fleet tanker).
"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," Capt Sharma added.
Four Indian naval ships in the Gulf region
Indian Naval Ships Deepak, Delhi, Tabar and Trishul are on a month-long deployment to the Gulf to enhance bilateral ties and engage in naval exercises with friendly regional navies.
The warships will have professional interactions to enhance co-operation and understanding the nuances of naval operations including disaster management and combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy.
The Indian Navy has close and friendly ties with all navies in the Gulf and has been regularly exercising with many of them.
India and Saudi Arabia have always maintained close and friendly relations deep rooted in shared history and cultural affinities.
"The relations are sustained and nourished through growing bilateral trade, cooperation in fields of energy, scientific and cultural exchanges and security cooperation," an official said.
The current visit seeks to underscore India's peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly countries in the Gulf and strengthen the existing bonds of friendship between India and Saudi Arabia.