India, Oz to hold first joint naval exercise

As a first step towards forging a new friendship in the Indo-Pacific region, India will send its naval ships to Sydney to participate in an international fleet review in December this year.

The two navies will also hold their first bilateral maritime exercise in 2015 and strengthen the cooperation in the Indian Ocean region, said a joint statement issued at the end of Defence Minister A K Antony’s meeting with his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith.

Antony, the first Indian defence minister to travel to Australia, a close US ally, called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard. The visit comes days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s tour of Japan, another friend of the US. Antony and Smith met in Perth on Monday and in Canberra on Tuesday.

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