Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese, on Thursday visited the Indian Navy’s indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant at Mumbai and termed relations between the two countries as “apartnership that is of increasing strategic importance as we navigate the challenges of our region together”.
There has never been a point in both of our country’s histories where we’ve had such a strong strategic alignment, the Australian PM’s statement said.
Albanese said he couldpredict that 2023 will be busier than ever for our defence cooperation. “There has never been a busier or more productive time in our defence and security partnership,” he added.
The Australian PM termed the aircraft carrier as a ‘landmark capability’ and added “for Australia, India is a top tier security partner. The Indian Ocean is central to both countries security and prosperity”.
Australia and India both depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific for trade and economic well being.
Last year, he said, India and Australia conducted more exercises, operations and dialogues than ever before, this included Maritime Patrol Aircraft deployments to each other’s territories for the first time.
In November the Indo-Pacific Endeavour and Exercise ‘Austra-hind’ were conducted.
Meanwhile, separately,the inaugural Australia-India General Bipin Rawat Defence Officer Exchange Programme is taking place in India. Young Australian military officers today visit a Para-brigade at Agra.
A 15-member Australian contingent ison a visit to India. Indian and Australian officers were taken through a series of training demonstrations related to fighting in a built-up areas by paratroopers.
The Australian PM formally announced that Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time this year. India, Australia, Japan and United States are partners in the Malabar series of exercises.