India's Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R K Dhowan on Friday began an official tour to Australia aimed at strengthening defence cooperation between the two nations. The aim of the visit, which ends on 7 October, is to consolidate naval initiatives and explore new avenues of cooperation.
During the visit, Admiral Dhowan is scheduled to hold discussions with the Chief of the Royal Australian Navy, the Vice Chief of Defence Staff, the Defence Secretary and other senior naval officers.
The admiral's visit to Australia has been programmed to coincide with the prestigious annual 'Sea Power Conference' organised by the Australia Navy. The forum provides opportunities to engage with heads of over 40 navies," a defence ministry release said.
"India and Australia share similar maritime challenges such as long coastline, extensive EEZ, coastal security, large coastal shipping and fishing fleet, wherein both Navies have opportunities to learn from each other's experiences. In addition, common grounds exist for cooperation in ship-building, especially under India's 'Make in India' initiative," the release noted.
India and Australia signed a defence cooperation agreement in 2006 as well as a framework for defence cooperation in November 2014, which envisaged regular ship visits as well as high level exchanges.
The Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy are partners in the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), a maritime cooperation construct conceptualised and pioneered by Indian Navy in 2008. The Australian Navy has stood shoulder to shoulder with the Indian Navy in taking this 21st century maritime construct forward.
"India-Australia have several commonalities, which serve as foundation for closer cooperation and multifaceted interactions. Both countries are vibrant, secular and multicultural democracies," the release said.