It is slated to dock at Chennai port next week

The ship had taken part in the joint naval exercises

In a continuation of the growing “confluence of interests” between India and Australia, especially in the Indian Ocean Region, HMAS Adelaide — the Royal Australian Navy’s long-range guided missile frigate — will be making a four-day visit to Chennai.

The 138.1-metre-long HMAS Adelaide is slated to dock at the Chennai port between September 19 and 23, on its second goodwill visit to the city. The frigate had visited Chennai in June 2003.

More recently, it took part in the four-nation ‘Malabar’ naval exercises held in the Bay of Bengal, east of Visakhapatnam and west of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands between September 4 and 9.

As per protocol during international goodwill visits, the Australian frigate’s captain would call on the Commanding Officer of Indian Naval Ship Adyar, Commodore P.E. Vanhaltern, during the visit. For the ship’s sailors and officers — the ship has a company of around 210 — the visit will also afford an opportunity for rest and recreation.

The frigate will also take on supplies including fuel, water and rations from Chennai.

Sources told The Hindu that the frigate’s visit would afford the Navy an opportunity to conduct ‘Pas-ex’ (passage exercises) — the basic level exercises — with the Australian ship, “especially in areas of training.”

Named after the South Australian city, the November 1980 commissioned HMAS Adelaide is equipped to take on roles such as area air defence, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance, and interdiction. The gas turbine powered ship which is equipped to carry two S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopters, can simultaneously counter threats from the air, surface and sub-surface.

For the Navy, the arrival of HMAS Adelaide is another occasion to constructively engage with counterparts from friendly countries.

The year 2007 has seen some of the most hectic interactions: exercises have been held with navies from Singapore, Japan, the United States and Australia.

Boosting ties

HMAS Adelaide’s visit is also being seen as another step in the heightening of strategic ties between India and Australia.

Last month, the Australian Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral Russell Edward Shalders, paid a five-day visit to India. He visited the Eastern Naval Command and the Western Naval Command.