Eye on Indian Ocean, India-Australia joint naval exercise to begin April 2

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  1. An Australian diplomatic source has said that the third edition of AUSINDEX exercise (Exercise Australia-India) will be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from 2nd-16th April 2019.
  2. AUSINDEX is a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The first edition of the exercise, AUSINDEX-15 took place in 2015 off the East Coast of India. The exercise is aimed at strengthening professional interaction and enhance interoperability between the two navies. It seeks to strengthen maritime cooperation between the India and Australia.
  3. The focus of AUSINDEX 2019 will be anti-submarine warfare. India will deploy P-8I aircraft and Australia will deploy P-8A aircraft. These are designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, and surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
  4. According to Australian diplomatic sources, four Royal Australian Navy ships will participate in the exercise. These include HMAS (Her Majesty’s Australian Ship) Canberra, HMAS Success, HMAS Newcastle, and HMAS Parramatta.
  5. AUSINDEX assumes particular significance at a time when China’s growing presence in the Indo-Pacific region has been a matter of concern for India, Australia and USA.
  6. Australian source has said that AUSINDEX is a reflection of depending ties between India and Australia. He further added that Australia’s absence in the Malabar exercise does not affect India- Australia defence ties.
  7. The Malabar exercise is a trilateral naval exercise conducted among the United States, India and Japan. It was established in 1992 between India and the United States. However, due to tensions arising from India’s nuclearization in 1998, it became an annual feature only in 2002. Japan joined as a permanent member in 2015.
  8. In 2007, India had invited Australia, Japan, and Singapore to be part of the exercise. However, China had labelled the move to expand Malabar exercise as an ‘anti-China coalition’. To maintain a good economic relationship with China, Australia withdrew its name from the “Quadrilateral”.
  9. Australia had lately been keen to join the naval exercise. However, India had rejected Australian government’s request.