Australians and Indians often bond over cricket, so sport was a natural addition to the program of the recent exercise between the navies of the two nations.
A sports day, hosted by Western Australian naval base, HMAS Stirling sparked a competitive spirit when the whistles piped the start of the soccer and beach volleyball games between the locals and the visiting Indian Navy teams.
Despite the six week journey to Fremantle, the visitors showed no sign of ‘sea-legs’ and quickly responded to the early goals scored by the hosts in both sporting activities.
After a fairly even opening exchange on the soccer field, Stirling took the lead with a commanding three zero lead at half time.
The Indian Navy continued to compete; however, the fitness and strength of the Stirling side proved too much and further goals completed a comprehensive seven to zero victory.
After the game, the captain of the Stirling side, Leading Seaman Marine Technician David Turnbull said that that it was a competitive game played in good sporting spirit.
“It really was a privilege to play the Indian side,” Leading Seaman Turnbull said.
Stirling’s striker, Seaman Michael Reisis said that participation in games against other countries is enjoyable.
“These competitions enables us to see how other nations play and provides a different level of competition,” Seaman Michael Reisis said.
“The ultimate aim as players is to represent Navy at the national Defence competition and games like this help with our development,” he said.
The tide was turned on the Australians in volleyball with the Indian Navy taking the decider to win two games to one.
Seaman Rachel Lyons reflected on the beach-volleyball result before joining her teammates and opponents on the pavilion for a barbeque.
“The Indian Navy played with competitiveness and the attitude was really great,” she said.
“Unfortunately we did not get across the line today but I am looking forward to the next international sports day.”
Indian Navy Lieutenant Sarthak Nischal, instructed the Australians in a yoga session alongside INS Shivalik and said that there were Indian Navy members who were interested in having a go at Australian Rules Football.
“I watched the Aussie rules on television last night and was impressed with the skill and speed of the players in the game,” he said.
“We will have a go at footy during our next port visit to Australia.”
Sport and cultural activities are often held as part of international maritime exercises such as AUSINDEX, to help build rapport and understanding between participating nations.
Often sport is a common language that all can communicate with to foster better outcomes for at sea war-gaming.
The harbour phase strengthened relationships between the two Navies before the warships headed out for the sea-phase off Western Australian shores.