The Indian and the Australian navies will undertake Passage Exercise or PASSEX exercises on September 23-24 in the Indian Ocean. From the Indian side, Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Karmuk will be present and Australia will be represented by HMAS Hobart.
Australia is the third country, since June, with which India will conduct the exercises. The first was with US Navy’s USS Nimitz and the second was the Russian Navy.
India and Australia in the last few months have increased cooperation, especially defence engagement. An Indian Navy statement said, the exercises, “reflect the growing strength of Indo-Australian bilateral relations as comprehensive strategic partners, particularly in defence cooperation in the maritime domain”.
The statement added, “The exercise, which is in keeping with the strong bond shared by the two navies, would be another step towards strengthening Indo-Australia defence relations and the continued efforts of both the governments to work closely to enhance safety and security of the global commons in accordance with international regulations.”
Indian Navy said, “The exercise, aimed at enhancing interoperability, improving understanding and imbibing best practices from each other, would involve advanced surface and anti-air exercises including weapon firings, seamanship exercises, naval manoeuvres and Cross Deck Flying Operations.”
The exercises happening in the backdrop of COVID-19 crisis will be ‘non-contact activity’ and would not involve any physical contact between the participating personnel of the two navies. Both navies have regular biennially AUSINDEX exercises.