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Indian Naval Ship Sahyadri entered the Port of Darwin, Australia, on Wednesday to take part in a multilateral maritime exercise, the Indian Navy said in a statement on Thursday.
The ship was deployed in the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean for over four months, which included representing the Navy in multinational exercises MALABAR 18 at Guam and RIMPAC 18 at Hawaii.
Exercise KAKADU, which started in 1993, is the premier multilateral regional maritime engagement exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).
The exercise is held biennially in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise Areas (NAXA). Exercise KAKADU derives its name from Kakadu National Park, which is a protected area in the northern territory of Australia, 171 km south-east of Darwin.
KAKADU 2018, the 14th edition of the exercise, is scheduled from 29 Aug – 15 Sep 18 and would see participation from 23 warships, one submarine, 21 aircraft, 3000 personnel from over 27 different countries.
“Indian Navy’s participation in KAKADU 18 provides an excellent opportunity to engage with regional partners and undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment, aimed at enhancing interoperability and development of common understanding of procedures for maritime operations,” a statement from India’s Ministry of Defence said.
During the exercise, professional exchanges in the harbour and a diverse range of activities at sea, including complex surface, sub-surface and air operations would enable the sharing of best practices and hone operational skills.
At the helm of INS Sahyadri is Captain Shantanu Jha, who is assisted by a team of professionals of the Indian Navy.
Participation in KAKADU 18 is a significant milestone in Indian Navy’s efforts towards strengthening mutual confidence among regional navies and is expected to bolster India’s contribution in ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The Indian Air Force, for the first time ever, will take part in Exercise 'Pitch Dark' conducted by the Australian Airforce. This exercise will be held from 27th July to 17th August 2018.
According to the Australian Air Force website "this exercise hosts up to 4000 personnel and up to 140 aircraft from around the globe including participants from Australia, Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, India, Malaysia and the United States and will include day and night flying."
"Exercise Pitch Black features a range of realistic, simulated threats which can be found in a modern battle-space environment and is an opportunity to test and improve our force integration, utilising one of the largest training airspace areas in the world — Bradshaw Field Training Area and Delamere Air Weapons Range," says the website.
We spoke to Air Commodore Prashant Dixit to know more about the importance of this exercise in terms of the strategic relationship between India and Australia.