A delegation from Australia led by Air Commodore Richard Owen, accompanied by Lieutenant Commander Phillip Garrett and Caitlin Jensen called on Rear Admiral Alok Bhatnagar,NM, Flag Officer Commanding Tamil Nadu & Puducherry Naval Area in Chennai. They were also accompanied by the Australian Defence Adviser to India, Captain Simon Bateman and Susan Grace, Australian Consul General.
According to a statement from the Press Information Bureau (Defence Wing), the delegation met the Flag Officer as part of planning for the Australian joint deployment INDO-PACIFIC ENDEAVOUR 2019. The cornerstone of this deployment will be the bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX 19 between the Indian and Australian Navies. Two Royal Australian Navy ships HMAS Success and HMAS Parramatta will be visiting Chennai from 28 March – 01 April, 2019 before participating in the naval exercise AUSINDEX 19 at Visakhapatnam.
Last month, Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne visited India to widen bilateral Indo-Pacific partnership across strategic and economic spheres. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu, said the visit was an opportunity to reinforce Australia’s commitment to strengthening the partnership.
“Minister Payne is visiting at a time when our relationship has grown to become a significant partnership. Our shared interests range widely across political, security, cultural and economic fields,” Sidhu had said.