When India takes on England at Wankhede stadium in the fourth one-day international today, a group of Australians will be cheering for the Men in Blue.
About 190 men and women from the vessel, HMAS Toowoomba of the Royal Australian Navy, are in the city to boost ties and cooperation with the Indian Navy.
This is the second visit by an Australian naval vessel returning from a mission in the Middle East to counter terrorism and piracy in the Gulf of Aden, which is riddled with strategic chokepoints of the region.
The visits have included talks between top officials of both navies being to hold an annual exercise between the two forces, navy sources said. Captain of HMAS Toowoomba, Commander Andrew Quinn, said, “It is necessary to know each other’s capabilities, and this happens when we engage with each other through such visits.”
Once the capabilities are determined, the navies figure out the kind of exercises that can be held, added Commander Quinn. The captain also said, “During my last assignment when I was on board HMAS Anzac, we worked with INS Rana and it was a pleasure to cooperate with our Indian counterparts.”
The visit, which is being hosted by INS Tabar, holds the key to India’s interest considering China’s presence in Australia, navy sources said. HMAS Toowoomba will set sail from Mumbai on Tuesday to its fleet base in Perth after steaming more than 35,000 nautical miles during her second deployment to the Middle East.
HMAS Toowoomba served in the piracy-prone region for six months as part of the Combined Maritime Forces — a 25-nation naval partnership to ensure piracy is kept at bay. HMAS Toowoomba handed over the operations in the region to HMAS Parramatta.