Weapon firings, flying ops in India-Australia naval drill in Indian Ocean

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Sep 22, 2020 09:43 PM IST

The stage is also set for Australia to be part of the next Malabar naval exercise conducted by India with the US and Japan.

The Indian and Australian navies will conduct a two-day passage exercise in the east Indian Ocean Region from September 23, an Indian Navy spokesperson said on Tuesday. A passage exercise is normally undertaken whenever an opportunity arises, in contrast to pre-planned maritime drills.

File photo of Indian naval ship Sahyadri. (Photo @indiannavy)
File photo of Indian naval ship Sahyadri. (Photo @indiannavy)

“The exercise would involve participation of HMAS Hobart from the Australian side and Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Karmuk,” he said. Helicopters from both sides are also taking part in the drills.

“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-desk flying operations,” the navy said in a statement.

In the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the exercise would be conducted strictly as a non-contact activity and would not involve any physical contact between the participating personnel, it added.

The stage is also set for Australia to be part of the next Malabar naval exercise conducted by India with the US and Japan. The next edition of Malabar, already delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, is set to be held by the end of the year.

China has also been wary of the Quadrilateral security dialogue or Quad that was revived in late 2017 by India, the US, Australia and Japan, and these suspicions have increased since the four countries upgraded the forum to the ministerial level last year.

The navy has been on an operational alert in the Indian Ocean where scores of warships are ready for any task in the aftermath of the border row with China in the Ladakh sector. It has positioned warships along critical sea lanes of communications and choke points under its mission-based deployment and the vessels could be diverted for any mission.

Indian warships are deployed from as far as the Persian Gulf to the Malacca Strait and northern Bay of Bengal to the southeast coast of Africa.

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