India and Australia have commenced the first bilateral maritime exercise, Ausindex15, in Visakhapatnam, India, strengthening defence cooperation between the countries.
The latest development is part of the framework for security cooperation announced by the Australian and Indian Prime Ministers in 2014.
Head navy capability rear admiral Jonathan Mead said: "India is a key security partner in the Indian Ocean and Asia-Pacific.
"Both our navies have a mutual interest in promoting peace and prosperity in the Indian Ocean and this is a natural progression of our navy-to-navy relationship, given our shared maritime security interests."
This week-long exercise will see the participation of three Royal Australian Navy ships, HMA Ships Sirius, Arunta and Sheehan, and a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C aircraft.
The vessels will train with the Indian Navy warships, including Shivalik, Ranvijayi and Shakti. The Indian Navy’s P-8I Maritime Patrol Aircraft will also participate in Ausindex15.
Mead added: "At sea, surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises will be conducted and there will also be the opportunity for aviation cross deck operations.
"This will strengthen our relationship and further our ability to undertake regional joint and / or combined operations such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief."
The exercise will start with briefings and practical demonstrations ashore.
In July, Australian naval forces completed the Talisman Sabre 2015 combined joint exercise with US navy aboard the US 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Brisbane, Australia.
The exercise was designed to improve Australian and US combat readiness and interoperability, and maximise combined training opportunities.
Image: Ausindex15 will see the participation of the Australian Navy’s ships including HMA Ships Sirius, Arunta and Sheehan. Photo: © Royal Australian Navy.