INDIA. Mumbai: From Monday to Wednesday, the 14th Indian Navy-Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Staff Talks on maritime cooperation between the two countries were conducted at South Block in New Delhi.
While both countries’ Navy to Navy meetings have been held on a regular basis in recent years, the “Joint Guidance for the India-Australia Navy to Navy Relationship” document was signed by the two countries’ Navy Chiefs in August of last year. Following that, the terms of reference were signed.
The meeting was co-chaired by Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, Deputy Chief of Navy, RAN, and Rear Admiral J Singh, the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (ACNS), Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence (FCI), Indian Navy, and Cmde Stewart Dunne, Hydrographer to Govt of Australia also attended the meeting.
The event witnessed active participation from the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy. Major issues discussed included maritime operations, information exchange, and training. Both sides also acknowledged the growing cooperation between the two Navies amid the emerging challenges on the maritime front and agreed to enhance collaboration and interoperability towards ensuring maritime security in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
As part of maritime coordination, the Indian Navy P-81 aircraft from the squadron INAS 312 “Albatross” reached Darwin (Australia) on Monday. It will engage with its counterpart from the 92 wings of the Royal Australian Air Force.
“The aircraft from both countries would be conducting coordinated operations in Anti-Submarine Warfare and surface surveillance to enhance maritime domain awareness,” an Indian Navy Spokesman said.
The P-8 aircraft, with their demonstrated long reach, have operated jointly during the Malabar and AUSINDEX series of exercises. They have a common understanding of operating procedures and information sharing. Both India and Australia share strategic interests, promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific and rule-based order in the region.
On completion of the talks, Rear Admiral Christopher Smith interacted with Vice Admiral Sanjay Mahindru, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, Indian Navy, on Wednesday. A meeting is slated to be held between Australia’s Chief of the Defence Force and Defence Secretary later this month.