Continuing it’s increasing endeavours of conducting exercises with various friendly countries at many level, the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy are scheduled to undertake Passage Exercises (PASSEX) on 23rd and 24th of September in the strategic East Indian Ocean Region.
The exercise is aimed at enhancing interoperability, improving understanding and imbibing best practices from each other. It would involve the participation of HMAS Hobart from the Australian side and Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Karmuk and would also involve advanced surface and anti-air exercises including weapon firings, seamanship exercises, naval manoeuvres and Cross Deck Flying Operations.
A statement by the Indian Navy said that the exercises, “reflects the growing strength of Indo-Australian bilateral relations as comprehensive strategic partners, particularly in defence cooperation in the maritime domain.” It further said that ” The exercise, which is in keeping with the strong bond shared by the two navies, would be another step towards strengthening Indo-Australia defence relations and the continued efforts of both Governments to work closely to enhance safety and security of the global commons in accordance with international regulations.” In June, India and Australia announced the elevation of bilateral ties to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” and also upgraded a key dialogue from secretary to ministerial levels. The two navies have also signed the Logistic Support Agreement which increases interoperability and enhances the maritime cooperation of New Delhi and Canberra.
Since June, Australia is the third country with whom India is conducting such an exercise. India previously conducted PASSEX Exercises with the US and Russian Navies. Such exercises with friendly nations in strategically important regions further enhance India’s commitment to freedom of navigation in international commons.