India and Australia will practise manoeuvres to hunt submarines together in their largest ever naval exercise that will take place in the Bay of Bengal next month. The AusIndex war-game will feature reconnaissance and attack aircraft, warships and submarines and is being described as the `most complex exercise at the high end’ between the two sides.
Sources said that four Australian warships, including its largest ship HMAS Canberra that is designed for amphibious operations, will take part and will be matched by an equal number of Indian frontline vessels, besides a Kilo class submarine.
Besides, one each Boeing P8 submarine hunting aircraft from both nations will be deployed for the exercise that will take place over a span of two weeks off the Vizag coast. The Indian side has been grading up its submarine hunting skills over the past years given the growing presence of the Chinese Navy in the Indian Ocean Region, which has included nuclear submarines also being deployed.
“This is the largest ever deployment of an Australian defence group to India, over 1000 Australian defence personnel will take part,” Australian diplomatic sources said, adding that a military-industry capability demonstration is also planned along with the exercise.
Sources also said that Australia, which has upped its military engagements with India to 39 events in 2019 itself, is also keen on a military logistics sharing agreement to make such exchanges smoother. “We have proposed a logistics sharing pact to India. The details of which have to be negotiated,” sources said.
On the Indian side, the deployment will also include a Kilo class submarine and land based Hawk aircraft that will provide the air attack element for the exercise. A Kamorta class anti-submarine vessel, besides a stealth destroyer will lead the Indian deployment for the exercise.
AUS INDEX 2019:
· From April 2-16, largest ever deployment of Australian Navy to India
· HMAS Canberra, largest ship of the Australian Navy to take part, is an amphibious warfare ship
· HMAS Newcastle and Parramatta frigates, tanker and P8 A aircraft to take place
· Collins class submarine from Australia, Kilo class from India likely to be present
· Shore based Hawk aircraft, stealth destroyer and ASW corvette to be present from India side.