Australia welcomes arrival of AOPV Sankalp

Australia has welcomed the arrival of the largest Indian-designed Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) Sankalp to the country and said the visit of the ship demonstrates the "deepening and expanding maritime security relationship" between the two nations.

PTI| Updated: Dec 05, 2014, 09:55 AM IST

Melbourne: Australia has welcomed the arrival of the largest Indian-designed Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) Sankalp to the country and said the visit of the ship demonstrates the "deepening and expanding maritime security relationship" between the two nations.

Australian Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison Thursday welcomed the arrival of the Indian Coast Guard's 'Sankalp' in Darwin Harbour.

"Australia and India have a mature maritime security relationship, which will be strengthened by the implementation of the joint Framework for Security Cooperation announced by Prime Minister Abbott and Indian Prime Minister Modi last month," Morrison said.

"Australia has recently joined India in becoming a member of the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery Against Ships in Asia.

"Our two countries also share a common interest in combating other maritime threats in our region, such as illegal maritime arrivals, marine pollution, transnational crime, and illegal foreign fishing.

"The visit of AOPV Sankalp demonstrates the deepening and expanding maritime security relationship between our two nations."

In addition to further cooperation between the Indian Coast Guard and Australian border protection authorities, other key initiatives announced in the framework include further bilateral maritime exercises, implementation of an annual joint working group on counter-terrorism and other transnational crimes.

Other initiatives include cooperation on combating illegal migration, the establishment of annual meetings of the joint working group on visas, passports and consular matters, and further exchanges and cooperation between national customs authorities, which will include training opportunities.

AOPV Sankalp is the largest Indian-designed vessel to be built for the Indian Coast Guard and is used for patrolling and policing maritime zones, pollution control, maritime fire-fighting and search and rescue operations.

It will depart Darwin on December 8.