Striving for success at AUSINDEX in India

This article has photo gallery Published on FLTLT Bel Scott (author), LSIS Steven Thomson (photographer), LSIS Jake Badior (photographer), LSIS Ronnie Baltoft (photographer)

Topic(s): Exercise AUSINDEX, HMAS Canberra (L02), HMAS Newcastle (F06), HMAS Parramatta (F154), HMAS Success (OR 304)

HMAS Collins leads a Task Group formation while sailing in the Bay of Bengal as part of AUSINDEX 2019. (photo: LSIS Jake Badior)
HMAS Collins leads a Task Group formation while sailing in the Bay of Bengal as part of AUSINDEX 2019.

Exercise AUSINDEX 2019 has commenced with the largest naval group Australia has ever sent to India.

Taking place in Visakhapatnam, India, AUSINDEX is the major biennial bilateral Navy-to-Navy exchange between Australia and India. This year’s iteration is the most complex one to date, focusing on anti-submarine warfare and tactical maritime manoeuvres.

The task group consists of four ships: HMA Ships CanberraNewcastleParramatta and Success, a submarine, HMAS Collins, a number of embarked aircraft, and a Royal Australian Air Force P8-A Poseidon.

The Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Jonathan Mead, said it showed the importance of Australia’s relationship with India.

“This is the largest naval group that Australia has ever sent to India, not by accident, but deliberately as recognition of the Australian Government’s commitment to the political and security relationship with India,” Rear Admiral Mead said.

“This is the first time the Royal Australian Navy has deployed the LHD to India, exercised submarine-on-submarine serials, which are extremely complex, conducted combined aircraft flying exercises against an unmanned aerial target, and deployed the P8 and Romeo Helicopters in this exercise.”

The Flag Officer Commanding Indian Navy Eastern Fleet, Rear Admiral Suraj Berry, said the third iteration of AUSINDEX reflected the importance of strong maritime traditions and defence cooperation by both nations.

“This has been a follow up from the framework of security cooperation announced by the Australian and Indian prime ministers in 2014,” Rear Admiral Berry said.

“AUSINDEX 2019 aims to strengthen and enhance neutral cooperation and interoperability between the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy, providing opportunities for interaction and exchange of professional views.

“The last few years in particular, we have seen an upswing in Australia-India maritime relations.

“Safe and secure seas are essential for security and growth for all in the region. Stability of our oceans, Indian and Pacific, is crucial for ensuring peace for the entire region.

“Harmony in this region accordingly mandates closer working relations between our two navies.

“Over the years our relationship in the maritime domain has matured to a level where we are comfortable in operating with each other at sea.”

The Indian Navy is being represented by IN Ships Ranvijay (Destroyer), Sahyadri (Frigate), Kiltan (Corvette), Kora (Corvette) and the attack submarine INS Sindhukirti. Sea King and Chetak helicopters are embarked on the ships, and a P8I maritime patrol aircraft, Hawk fighter jets and Dornier Do 228 aircraft will be participating throughout the exercise.

Commencing on 2 April, the harbour phase included professional, sporting, social and cultural interaction between the two navies. The sea phase was held in the Bay of Bengal from 7-11 April.

“Speaking for all the visiting sailors, soldiers and airmen and women, we really cherish the spirit of the people of Vizag,” Rear Admiral Mead said.

“We have no better and more trusted partner in the region and AUSINDEX is our major naval bilateral exercise.

“We are really looking to step up the relationship and know the Indian Navy will look after our sailors at sea.”

Additional imagery is available on the Defence Image Gallery: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20190828.