India, Australia hold talks to cement strategic partnership

BL New Delhi Bureau | Updated on: Jun 22, 2022
Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday

Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Wednesday | Photo Credit: MOORTHY RV

China figures in the talks as the two nations figure out Indo-Pacific strategy

India and Australia discussed China’s dominance in the Indo-pacific region during a bilateral meeting on Wednesday and issued a joint statement that reaffirmed commitment towards implementation of the comprehensive strategic partnership, based on mutual trust and understanding, common interests and shared values of democracy and the rule of law.

China figured in the talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Australian counterpart Richard Marles, said sources, given both the countries have a common threat perception from the Communist-ruled country. Marles is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, which is a strategic partner of New Delhi. The two nations are members of Quad as well.

“The ministers reviewed strategic challenges and the regional security situation and reaffirmed their shared objective of an open, free, inclusive, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region,” said the joint press statement. India will also participate in Australia’s Indo Pacific Endeavour exercise in October.

Defence partnership

The ministers also assessed defence and security pillars of the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership and welcomed the growing diversity and frequency of defence exercises and exchanges between the two countries, said the statement. They also undertook to build upon operational engagements through the India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement.

The India-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on defence research and materiel cooperation will meet in Australia later this year. Ministry sources said the Australians have shown interest in visiting defence corridors to explore indigenous defence production. The statement said both the ministers discussed further opportunities for industrial cooperation between the two sides to increase the resilience of supply chains and deliver capabilities to their respective defence forces.

Later this year, General Rawat Young Officer Exchange Programme will commence which would enhance mutual understanding and trust between the two armed forces in particular. This programme was announced during the virtual summit meeting between the Prime Ministers of the two countries on March 21, 2022.

Published on June 22, 2022
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