India, Australia sign document to boost naval ties

Chiefs of the Indian and Australian navies on Wednesday signed a guidance document to streamline interaction between the two forces at various levels.

The Navy said in a statement that the signing ceremony for the ‘Joint Guidance for the Australia-India Navy to Navy Relationship’ document was held via videconference between Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh, and Admiral Michael J Noonan, Chief of Navy, Australian Navy.

The document is aligned to the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ agreed to by prime ministers of the two nations, and aims to ensure a shared approached to regional and global security challenges, the Navy said.

Australia and India, along with the US and Japan are members of the four-nation Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad, which has irked China. The navies of the four Quad nations will also participate in the Malabar Naval Exercise later this year.

The strengthening of the naval ties with Australia comes at a time when India and China are involved in an over 15-month long military standoff in eastern Ladakh.

The Navy statement said the ‘Joint Guidance’ will “serve as a guideline document to showcase the intent of both the Navies to work together bi/ multi-laterally” and its broad scope is focused on “developing mutual understanding, cooperate for regional security, collaborate in mutually beneficial activities and to develop interoperability”.

It said that the document’s highlights include “close cooperation in regional and multilateral fora” including the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and Expert Working Groups subordinate to the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus framework.

Indian and Australian bilateral defence relationship has strengthened over the years, and Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, conduct of trilateral Maritime Security Workshop and participation of the Australian navy in Exercise Malabar are “significant milestones which underline the role played by both Navies in bolstering this relationship in recent times,” the Navy said.

“The document would be pivotal in consolidating the shared commitment to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo – Pacific region,” it added.

Indian Navy conducts exercise with Vietnam in South Chian Sea

New Delhi: The Indian Navy said in a statement on Wednesday that it had conducted a bilateral maritime exercise with the Vietnam People’s Navy in South China Sea. “In continuation with ongoing deployment of Indian Navy ships in the South China Sea, INS Ranvijay and INS Kora undertook bilateral maritime exercise” with VPN on Wednesday, the statement said.

“The bilateral interaction aims to consolidate the strong bond shared by the two navies and would be another step towards strengthening India-Vietnam defence relations,” it added.

The sea phase of the exercise included surface warfare exercises, firing drills and helicopter operations, and regular interactions between the two navies over the years have enhanced their interoperability and adaptability, the statement added.

It said that defence ties with Vietnam have been “robust” and mentioned that in June, both countries “undertook a defence security dialogue and Indian Naval ships have been frequently visiting Vietnamese Ports”.

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