Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited India's homemade aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
Albanese received a guard of honour on board the carrier, which was commissioned into the Indian navy in September. The Australian PM also mounted a fighter aircraft and spoke to some officers who shared details and information on India's biggest aircraft carrier.
He thanked PM Modi for his "dedication to driving forward our defence and security partnership which is of increasing strategic importance as we navigate the challenges of our region together."
"For Australia, India is a top-tier security partner. The Indian Ocean is central to both countries' security and prosperity. And there has never been a point in our country's history where we've had such a strong strategic alignment which has been reinforced by my current visit to India and will be reinforced further by Prime Minister Modi's attendance at the quad leaders meeting," the Australian PM added.
Albanese said further, "In a short period of time, we both depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indopacific for our trade and for our economic well-being. And we share an unwavering commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring the Indopacific is open, inclusive and prosperous."
"For the first time in November, we conducted complex and sophisticated exercises in Indopacific endeavour and Exercise Ostrahund. This was capped off by Exercise Malabar where we bolstered our military interoperability with India alongside close partners Japan and the United States," he added.
"More important than these statistics is the sheer complexity and high-end nature of our military engagements which is unprecedented. I predict that 2023 will be busier than ever for our defence cooperation," Albanese added.
He announced that later this year, Australia will host 'Exercise Malabar' for the very first time while India will also participate in Australia's 'Talisman Sabre' exercise for the first time in August.
"It will be a great privilege to welcome India's Navy to Australia in August and I thank them again for their generosity in hosting us here today," the Australian PM signed off saying.
Albanese arrived on Wednesday in Ahmedabad at the start of his four-day visit to India. He paid tributes at the Sabarmati Ashram and also attended a Holi event at the governor's residence.
Earlier today, Albanese along with his Indian counterpart Prime Minister Narendra Modi lent a touch of cricket diplomacy to their ties as they inaugurated a test match between their two teams at the Modi Stadium.
INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in maritime history of India and houses state-of-the-art automation features.