A Royal Australian Navy (RAN) maritime task group has commenced AUSINDEX, a major bienial bilateral exercise, with the Indian Navy in Visakhapatnam, India.
The exercise was first held in India in 2015 with this year’s third iteration to focus on anti-submarine warfare, incorporating maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and more than 1,200 Australian personnel.
Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said AUSINDEX 2019 would provide an opportunity for Australia and India to hone their anti-submarine warfare capabilities in support of a stable and secure Indian Ocean.
“By 2035, the Indo-Pacific region will see around half of the world’s submarines operating in its waters,” Minister Pyne said.
“India is a significant security partner for Australia in the Indian Ocean and in the broader Indo-Pacific region. We share a strong commitment to an open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific and to a resilient rules-based global order.
“Australia is committed to deepening our engagement with India and I’m pleased that our bilateral defence relationship continues to go from strength to strength. We have gone from 11 defence exercises, meetings and activities in 2014 to 38 in 2018.”
Fleet Commander, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, AM, RAN, said AUSINDEX 2019 would see Indian and Australian navies working through a set of increasingly complex activities and scenarios involving command and control, communications and maritime manoeuvre.
“The ultimate aim of the activity is to practice maintaining sea lines of communications in a complex submarine environment,” Rear Admiral Mead said.
“AUSINDEX 2019 is far more complex than the previous two iterations and by enhancing our interoperability, including with allocated air assets, Australia and India will be better prepared to work together to address future threats to the regional order.
“This year we have drawn upon capabilities from our Indo-Pacific Endeavour Joint Task Force to demonstrate the importance of a fully integrated force to meet these future challenges.”
HMA Ships Canberra, Success, Newcastle and Parramatta, supported by the submarine HMAS Collins and a Royal Australian Air Force P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft will participate in AUSINDEX 2019.
Engagement with India through AUSINDEX is the cornerstone of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavor series this year. Indo-Pacific Endeavour 19 is the Australian Defence Force’s major regional engagement activity and delivers on the promise of the 2016 Defence White Paper to strengthen Australia’s engagement and partnerships with regional security forces.