Message From Australia Consul General Kolkata H.E. Hugh Boylan

H.E. Hugh Boylan

On Thursday 25 April, we will mark ANZAC Day, a day of great significance to Australians. On ANZAC Day, we pause to remember the more than two million Australians who have served our nation at home and abroad, during times of war and peace. It is fitting that Indian friends and colleagues will join us at Bhowanipore Cemetery in Kolkata for ANZAC Day, to remember the Indians who fought bravely at Gallipoli with and alongside Australians.

Whilst the story of the ANZACs is widely known, the story of the Indian soldiers who were part of the Gallipoli Campaign is not told as frequently. The Indian Army was well represented at Gallipoli. Predominantly through the 7th Indian Mountain Artillery Brigade, the Indian Mule Corps, a medical establishment and the 29th Indian Infantry Brigade.

The infantry took part in the August offensive and the artillery fought alongside the ANZACs from the day of the first landings till the final evacuation in December. When a lack of roads on the Gallipoli peninsula rendered motor transport useless, a solution came in the form of an Indian Mule Corps, including 4316 mules and 2000 carts.

The Indian contribution had a significant impact, including the contribution of the 14th Sikhs at the Third Battle of Krithia on 4 June 1915, and the 6th Gurkha Rifles in the climactic Battle of Sari Bair on 9th August 1915. One of my ancestors –Major General William Glasgow – served at Gallipoli. I like to think he would have had opportunities to work closely with his Indian counterparts and see their bravery first-hand.

Australia and India have a long, proud, and growing defence relationship. Australia’s recently published National Defence Strategy describes India as a top-tier security partner. Our defence relationship is of genuine consequence for the future trajectory of the Indo-Pacific. We are working together to shape the region toward a future where sovereignty is respected, and trade can thrive.

Our cooperation spans from the skies above to the depths of the ocean. We have agreed to boost cooperation between our maritime patrol aircraft in order to enhance our collective maritime domain awareness. Our Defence Science and Technology Arrangement fosters collaboration between our research organisations, including on undersea domain awareness. And a new India-Australia Hydrography Arrangement will facilitate close cooperation to study the ocean floor.

We are expanding record levels of joint exercises, including Australia’s participation in India’s first multilateral Air Force Exercise TARANG SHAKTI in 2024, building on our existing bilateral exercises AUSTRAHIND and AUSINDEX, and multilateral exercises KAKADU, PITCH BLACK, MILAN and MALABAR.

People-to-people engagement is also key to our bilateral defence relationship. Prime Minister Modi’s flagship General Rawat India-Australia Young Defence Officers’ Exchange Program is advancing this engagement, by bringing together fifteen young military officers from both countries each year. After a successful first exchange hosted by India, Australia looks forward to reciprocating in 2024. Our broader relationship is also at new heights: spanning a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, considerable high-level political engagement, as well as our Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement. Expect this relationship to grow and prosper. Expect our cooperation to deepen. I look forward to building on this unprecedented momentum as Australia’s Consul General in Kolkata.


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