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PM Albanese becomes first foreign PM to visit INS Vikrant

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese who is currently on a state visit to India and in Mumbai was given a guided tour of the newly commissioned aircraft career INS Vikrant.

Onboard INS Vikrant, India’s first homegrown aircraft carrier, he was presented guard of honour.

“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 while addressing the officers onboard.

Mr. Albanese also stressed upon the Australia-India defence partnership that is of increasing strategic importance in the Indo-pacific region.

Albanese meeting with Indian Navy personnel
Source: Twitter

“For Australia, India is a top tier security partner. The Indian Ocean is central to both countries’ security and prosperity.”

Listing the engagements the two nations have had in this sector, Mr Albanese said, “Last year we conducted more exercises, operations and dialogues than ever before. There has never been a point in both of our countries’ histories where we’ve had such a strong strategic alignment.”

The engagements in the past year included the Maritime Patrol Aircraft deployments, the complex and sophisticated Indo-Pacific Endeavour and Exercise Austrahind, and then Exercise Malabar.

Indian Navy service personnel with Australian PM
Source: Twitter

Currently, the inaugural Australia-India General Rawat Defence Officer Exchange Program is taking place in India. Also, later this year Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time, Mr Albanese noted, and India will participate in Australia’s Talisman Sabre exercise,

Observers in Australia of this historic visit on INS Vikrant, have however not failed to bring up the ongoing India-Russia defence arrangements, which seem to suggest incongruence on the Indian side. Yet, India continues to maintain its stance on multipolarity.

Read More: India and Australia strengthen defence, security partnership

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