Australia and India participated in the Australia-India Exercise (AUSINDEX) over 17-19 June, which saw HMAS Newcastle, submarine HMAS Waller, INS Shivalik and INS Kamorta take part in the sea phase.
HMAS Newcastle's capabilities were put the test during a complex warfare scenario involving Indian Navy Ships Shivalik and Kamorta.
The ships headed out to sea, after a short harbour phase, to focus on the navies’ interoperability and improvement on their war fighting skills.
Speaking from the bridge of Newcastle, Commanding Officer Commander Mark Sirois said AUSINDEX was an excellent opportunity to see both navies working together.
"I had a good conversation with the commanding officers of the Indian warships and they were extremely impressed with the professionalism of our sailors," CMDR Sirois said.
"They were very impressed with the capabilities of working with the submarine, helicopters and the Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle and what it brings to the surface engagement at sea.
"We definitely achieved the aims of the exercise."
Newcastle’s Communications Officer Lieutenant Shaun Baldwin said that the exercise allowed for joint operations where communication and mutual understanding were crucial to the successful conduct of complex anti-submarine and surface warfare engagements.
"A key element of AUSINDEX was interoperability between the two navies, which was achieved through clear communication and the underlying foundation of a professional war fighting culture among all units involved," LEUT Baldwin said.
"A significant feature of the exercise was the employment of Newcastle’s Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle.
"The platform proved invaluable through improving Newcastle’s situational understanding and providing an enhanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability."
Overall, the RAN said the exercise provided a unique opportunity to operate in company with the Indian Navy, while achieving valuable learning outcomes.
Defence said the activity demonstrated the strong naval ties between the RAN and Indian Navy, in addition to the enduring maritime relationship between Australia and India.
Meanwhile, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi had his first ever meeting US President Donald Trump.
The world leaders discussed terrorism and combating extremism and radicalisation.
"We talked about terrorism, extremism and radicalisation and agreed to co-operate on this," PM Modi said after the meeting.
Prior to this meeting, US Defense Secretary James Mattis met with PM Modi as the US authorised the sale of 22 Guardian MQ-9B drones to India, which has been looking to bolster its capabilities in surveillance and intelligence gathering.
While there has been no formal announcement, the deal on the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems' 22 drones is expected to be between US$2-3 billion.
The company's chief executive Linden Blue issued a statement saying "we are pleased that the US government has cleared the way for the sale of the MQ-9B Guardian to the Indian government".
Blue added the sale would "significantly enhance India’s sovereign maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific".