Mumbai, Mar 9 (PTI) Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced on Thursday that his country will host Exercise Malabar, a naval drill involving Australia, India, the US and Japan.
Speaking onboard indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant here, he also said that India will for the first time participate in Australia’s multinational Talisman Sabre exercise.
Last year, India and Australia conducted more exercises, operations and dialogues than ever before, the visiting PM noted. In a major step forward in the bilateral relationship, India and Australia undertook Maritime Patrol Aircraft deployments to each other’s territories for the first time, he said.
“In November alone we conducted increasingly complex and sophisticated exercises in Indo-Pacific Endeavour and Exercise Austrahind,” Albanese said.
“I am pleased to announce formally, aboard the magnificent INS Vikrant, that later this year Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time and India will – also for the first time – participate in Australia’s Talisman Sabre exercise,” he said.
Albanese was received onboard Vikrant by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar with a Guard of Honour.
The Australian prime minister said his visit reflected his government’s commitment to place India at the heart of Australia’s approach to the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
“But arguably, what lifts defence relationships to new levels is the resolve and foresight of those who see the relationship not only for what it is, but what it could be. Prime Minister Modi is one such person,” he said.
Strategic importance of the India-Australia partnership is increasing and there has never been a point in both countries’ histories where they have had such a strong strategic alignment, Albanese said.
There has never been a busier or more productive time in the bilateral defence and security partnership and 2023 will be “busier than ever” in this area, he added.
Both countries depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific for trade and economic well-being, Albanese noted, adding that India and Australia share an unwavering commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring the Indo-Pacific is open, inclusive and prosperous.
Notably, the Indo-Pacific region has been witnessing an increasing Chinese assertiveness.
Meanwhile, speaking about the Australia-India General Rawat Defence Officer Exchange Programme, Albanese said this initiative by Prime Minister Modi will ensure the defence personnel of the two countries develop familiarity and trust that underpins a close and long-lasting relationship. PTI PR KRK KRK KRK
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