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India, Australia to participate in joint maritime exercise

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Warships during the AUSINDEX-15 maritime drill in the Bay of Bengal. An Indian Navy photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Navies of India and Australia will participate in bilateral maritime exercise AUSINDEX-17 this week with an aim to enhancing interoperability and cooperation between the two forces.

Indian naval ships Jyoti, Shivalik and Kamorta are on a port visit to Freemantle, Australia from June 13 to 17 and will join the exercise, the Navy said on Tuesday.

Vice Admiral and Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command HCS Bisht will also be visiting Freemantle during the period.

During the harbour stay, various activities such as official calls, formal receptions on board ships which will also be open to visitors, guided tours for Indian naval personnel and professional interaction between naval personnel of the two sides, have been planned.

This would be the second edition of the exercise with the maiden one having been conducted at Visakhapatnam in 2015.

The exercise is aimed at increasing interoperability and is in consonance with the growing cooperation between the two countries.

In pursuance of India's 'Act East' policy, the ships under the command of Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Fleet Rear Admiral Biswajit Dasgupta are on an overseas deployment to the South East Asia and southern Indian Ocean regions.

INS Shivalik, a multi-role stealth frigate, INS Kamorta, an anti-submarine warfare corvette, and INS Jyoti, the fleet replenishment tanker, are a part of this venture.

"The visit of the Indian naval ships seeks to underscore India's peaceful presence and solidarity with friendly and harmonious countries towards ensuring good order in the maritime domain and to strengthen existing bonds between India and Australia," the Navy said in a statement.

In April this year, Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull visited India and held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to enhance the partnership between the two countries.

In May this year, Singapore and India held a maritime bilateral exercise SIMBEX in the disputed South China Sea.
INS Shivalik, Jyoti and Kamorta were also a part of that exercise.

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