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Australia to participate in Exercise Milan 24
Photo Courtesy: Eastern Naval Command X page

Australia to participate in Exercise Milan 24

| @indiablooms | 19 Feb 2024, 06:26 pm

The Australian government has said it will participate in Exercise Milan 24 this month in a bid to deepen its relationship with India.

Hosted by India from 19-27 February in the port city of Visakhapatnam and the adjacent Bay of Bengal, Exercise Milan 24 will bring together approximately 50 nations and around 20 international vessels and aircraft from across the Indo-Pacific and beyond.

Exercise Milan 24 is a key element in the Australian Defence Force’s first regional presence deployment for 2024 and the first large-scale multilateral exercise on the Navy’s calendar for the year.

The Australian Defence Force will be represented by the Commander of the Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Chris Smith, AM, CSM, RAN, and HMAS Warramunga, with an embarkedMH-60R Seahawk helicopter, which is currently conducting an Indo-Pacific regional presence deployment.

Pursuing the theme ‘Camaraderie, Cohesion, Collaboration’, Exercise Milan 24 will feature a six-day harbour phase offering knowledge sharing, leadership engagement and a table top exercise along with a street parade and cultural exchanges.

The four-day sea phase will comprise advanced maritime training including anti-submarine, anti-surface and anti-air warfare exercises along with large force maritime manoeuvres.

Australia’s Joint Force Maritime Component Commander, Commodore Jonathan Ley, said the exercise was important for building international relationships, professional development and for Warramunga’s crew to practise operating at sea as part of a large multilateral fleet.

“Exercise Milan is an important biennial training activity for the Indo-Pacific region and valuable for advancing Australia’s place as an Indian Ocean neighbour,” Commodore Ley said.

“Our participation in Exercise Milan 24 will help deepen Australia’s navy-to-navy relationship with India, provide opportunities for naval leaders to contemplate shared security challenges and enhance mutual understanding among the navies of like-minded nations.

“I am very grateful to the Indian Navy for the opportunity to again join the growing number of participants in 2024.”

Milan 24 will be the twelfth edition of India’s biennial flagship exercise, which began with just four nations in 1995. Australia has been a participant since 2003.

Australia’s participation in Exercise Milan 2024 follows its hosting of Indian-owned Exercise Malabar for the first time in 2023, which drew together naval forces from India, Japan, the United States and Australia for exercises in Sydney and the seas off the NSW coast.

HMAS Warramunga departed for its current three-month regional presence deployment in late January and will participate in several exercises, cooperative activities and joint patrols with partner navies along with regional port visits.

Indian Navy Chief Admiral Hari Kumar described the event as 'largest'.

While speaking to ANI, the Naval Chief remarked, "The MILAN exercise is indeed the largest exercise we have held so far."

"With invitations extended to 58 countries and responses pouring in from over 50 nations, MILAN 24 promises unprecedented participation. A fleet of 18 warships and aircraft stands poised to engage in a meticulously crafted program spanning both sea and harbor phases from February 19th to 27th," he added

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