New Delhi: Fifteen officers from the Australian defence forces are visiting India from March 1 under the inaugural General Rawat India-Australia Young Defence Officers’ Exchange Program. The contingent, which includes four female officers, are from the Royal Australian Navy, Australian Army, and Royal Australian Air Force.
During the programme, the Australian officers will be hosted by fifteen officers from the Indian armed forces of similar rank and skill set. They will also visit various Indian defence establishments across four cities across India. This would include visits to the Air Force Academy, Dundigal; College of Defence Management, Secunderabad; Defence Research and Development Organization, Bangalore; naval facilities in Goa, and other key defence installations.
According to a defence ministry official, the programme will provide a valuable opportunity for the Australian officers to observe the training and practices of the Indian military and foster greater understanding and cooperation.
The Australian high commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for India and Australia to introduce their young defence officers to each other’s operational environments and strengthen our bilateral relationship. In 2022, in recognition of the contributions of India’s first chief of defence staff, General Bipin Rawat, and the importance of deepening our defence relationship, the Australian and Indian governments announced an Australia-India Young Defence Officers’ Exchange Programme named in his honour.”
The visit by the young Australian defence officers is also seen as another example of the building momentum between Australia and India as comprehensive strategic partners.