Australia will step up its security cooperation with India and work closely with the country for an open, stable and secure Indian Ocean region, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday.
Payne said her country looks forward to work closely with India and other regional partners to continue to build a positive character for the Indian Ocean region -- open, prosperous stable and secure.
"Peaceful and open character of the (Indian) Ocean region is vital in the national interest of Australia," she said.
"We are stepping up our security and defence cooperation with India in the region," she said.
"In March this year, Australia's largest annual naval deployment, Indo-Pacific Endeavour, comprising up to five Royal Australian Navy vessels, including frigates, a Helicopter Landing Dock (HMAS Canberra), and a replenishment vessel and around 1400 Australian Defence Force personnel, will be hosted across the region and (make) port visits in Vizag and Chennai," she said.
Engagement with India will be the cornerstone of this year's deployment in the Indian Ocean with our bilateral naval exercise at its heart, she said.
The Australian foreign minister said Andrew Ford has been appointed as Australia's first resident Consul General in Kolkata to establish a new Consulate there , the country's fourth diplomatic post in India.
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