HMAS Newcastle was slowly guided into dock by the harbour master at Visakhapatnam Port in the Indian sub-continent on a breathless, humid day.

Newcastle took its place alongside submarine HMAS Collins as the Indian Navy’s Command Protocol Officer, Commander Ravi Rastogi, welcomed the commander of the Australian combined task group for AUSINDEX, Captain Andrew Quinn.

Captain Quinn said the two countries had much in common and engaged in Defence exercises every two years, with 2019 featuring the biggest involvement of the Australian Navy.

“This year is our most ambitious to date because we will have a particular focus on anti-submarine warfare.”

Seaman Boatswains Mate Joseph Kura throws his line as HMAS Newcastle comes alongside at Visakhapatnam Naval Base, India, during AUSINDEX 2019.

“AUSINDEX is the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy’s biennial exercise where the two countries practise interoperability and maritime manoeuvres,” he said.

“This year is our most ambitious to date because we will have a particular focus on anti-submarine warfare.”

The flagship of the combined task group, HMAS Canberra, provides impressive amphibious and command and control capability.

Two frigates, HMA Ships Parramatta and Newcastle, bring significant warfighting and anti-submarine capability and are both equipped with MH60-R maritime combat helicopters.

A P8-A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft, Collins and the supply ship HMAS Success will also accompany the combined task force.

Both countries have a deep connection to the Indian Ocean, with strong maritime linkages.

The 2016 Defence White Paper outlined the need for Australia to strengthen its relationship with India and AUSINDEX is the premier activity between the two navies.

“Australia is committed to deepening the levels of engagement on an interpersonal level, which I hope will lead to deeper understanding between the two countries and, therefore, greater interoperability,” Captain Quinn said.

“The two nations are committed to an open and secure maritime environment and a resilient rules-based global order.”