India and Australia will be seen participating in a bilateral naval exercise from April 2 to 16 considering the increasing presence of China in the Indian Ocean. This will be Australia’s largest display of its defence assets since 1947.
The third instalment of the “AUSINDEX” exercise will be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam, Australian diplomatic sources said. The exercise will be a complex one and will be focussed on anti-submarine warfare.
“This is the largest ever deployment of an Australian defence group to India, over 1000 Australian defence personnel will take part,” said an Australian diplomatic source.
Four Australian warships, including its largest ship HMAS Canberra that is designed for amphibious operations, will take part — HMAS Success is the Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel, which is capable of replenishment at sea of other RAN vessels of fuel, ammunition, food and stores.
Australian warships will be matched by an equal number of Indian frontline vessels, such as a Kilo class submarine, said official sources. A Kamorta class anti-submarine vessel, besides a stealth destroyer will lead the Indian deployment for the exercise.
Both sides will deploy P-8I aircraft and P-8A aircraft, which are a “long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft” capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
While Indian Navy has P-8I aircraft, Australia has the P-8A. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the US Navy.
Engagement with India, one of Australia’s key strategic partners in the Indian Ocean region, will be the cornerstone for Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19).