KOCHI: Australian Navy Ship HMAS Ballarat, commanded by Commander Paul Andrew Johnson, arrived in Kochi on Friday for a five-day visit. On arrival, the Commanding Officer of HMAS Ballarat called on Rear Admiral R J Nadkarni, VSM, Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command, and discussed professional subjects of common interest to both navies.
During the discussions, the Chief of Staff conveyed his gratitude to the Commanding Officer for the assistance rendered by HMAS Ballarat for locating and rendering medical assistance to Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy during the search-and-rescue mission coordinated by the Royal Australian Navy.
On September 21, Tomy whilst on a voyage in his sailing vessel ‘Thuraya’ in the southern Indian Ocean, encountered rough seas following which his boat got de-masted while he himself suffered a severe back injury.
During the stay at Kochi, various activities such as the visit of Indian naval personnel onboard HMAS Ballarat, professional interaction and a friendly volleyball match between the two navies have been planned.
The visiting ship’s crew were also given a conducted tour of Navigation & Direction, Damage Control Training Facility (DCTF), Water Survival Training Facility (WSTF) and Flight and Tactical Simulator (FATS). India’s bilateral relations with Australia are rooted in historical social and cultural interactions and extensive people-to-people contact. The cooperation between the two navies is in pursuance of India’s Act East policy and is aimed to enhance interoperability.The HMAS Ballarat will depart for Manama on Tuesday.