Australia’s Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, has become the first foreign head of state to visit India’s home-grown aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. During his visit, PM Albanese received a guard of honour on board the carrier and praised Prime Minister Modi’s efforts to strengthen the relationship between the two countries. “My visit reflects my government’s commitment to place India at the heart of Australia’s approach to the Indo-Pacific and beyond,” he said.
India and Australia have been close strategic partners for many years, and this has been reflected in their recent military cooperation. In August this year, Australia will host the Malabar Naval Exercise with India, Japan and the US. It will also be the first time that India participates in Australia’s Talisman Sabre exercise.
“While on board the @IN_R11Vikrant in Mumbai today I met with incredible service personnel from the Indian Navy who have undertaken exercises with Australia,” he tweeted.
The INS Vikrant was commissioned into the Indian navy in September last year. The 45,000-tonne warship was built at a cost of ₹ 20,000 crore and is the largest warship to be built in India, measuring 262 metres long and 62 metres wide. It can accommodate up to 30 aircraft, including MiG-29K fighter jets and helicopters, and has a crew of nearly 1,600.
Albanese also boarded LCA Tejas aboard INS Vikrant.
Albanese also announced that his nation will host Exercise Malabar for the first time later this year, bringing together the navies of India, the US, Japan, and Australia.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart watched the fourth Test between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad for half an hour. This visit by the Australian Prime Minister is seen as a significant step in strengthening the strategic partnership between India and Australia, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.