India, Australia to kick off naval exercise in eastern Indian Ocean | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: India is set to kick off a two-day naval exercise with Australia in the eastern Indian Ocean, in what constitutes some additional strategic signaling after similar exercises with the US and Japan in the region amid the ongoing military confrontation with China in Ladakh.
The exercise, to be held on Wednesday and Thursday, will see Australian destroyer HMAS Hobart participating in the exercise with Indian stealth frigate INS Sahyadri and corvette INS Karmuk.
The exercise will also include helicopters from the two navies, while India will also deploy a P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft. “The exercise, aimed at enhancing interoperability, will include advanced surface and anti-air exercises including weapon firings, seamanship exercises, naval manoeuvres and cross-deck flying operations,” said Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal.

“Such PASSEXs (passage exercises) are regularly conducted by the Indian Navy with units of friendly foreign navies, while visiting each other’s ports or during a rendezvous at sea,” he said.
“This exercise reflects the growing strength of India-Australian bilateral relations as comprehensive strategic partners, particularly in defence cooperation in the maritime domain,” he added.
While Japan has become a regular participant in the high-voltage “Malabar” naval combat exercise between India and the US since 2015, India is yet to take the final decision to include Australia in the 24th edition of the wargames later this year.

If the move translates into reality, a military construct will firmly be added to the so-called “Quad” countries that have a shared interest in building a free, open and stable Indo-Pacific region to deter an expansionist China.

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