Home Ministry of affairs Australian Deputy Prime Minister on 4-day visit to India starting today; defense cooperative on the agenda | Latest India News

Australian Deputy Prime Minister on 4-day visit to India starting today; defense cooperative on the agenda | Latest India News

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Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles began a four-day visit to India on Monday, aimed at strengthening defense and security cooperation and engagement in the Indo-Pacific region.

Marles, who is the first senior official from Anthony Albanese’s government to visit New Delhi, will meet Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and other senior Indian officials.

His visit to India comes less than a month after the formation of Australia’s new government following the general election, and the trip reflects the importance Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attaches to relations with India.

Before departing for New Delhi, Marles described India as “one of Australia’s closest security partners” and said his government is “focused on revitalizing the country’s historically deep engagement. ‘Australia with our Indo-Pacific partners’.

“The rules-based international order that has brought peace and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific for decades is coming under pressure, as we face shifts in the geostrategic order. Australia stands ready to work more closely with India to support an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific,” he added.

Recent years have seen a significant increase in defense cooperation between the two countries, including the signing of the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) in 2020 which allows both sides access to military bases in the another for logistical support.

Marles, who will be in India from June 20-23, said: “Australia and India are complete strategic partners. I am committed to strengthening Australia’s defense and security cooperation with India.

He added that he was looking forward to meeting Singh and having their first bilateral meeting.

“Minister Singh has been instrumental in advancing the India-Australia defense relationship and I look forward to working with him to strengthen the defense pillar of our comprehensive strategic partnership.” he declared.

Marles will also speak with national security and defense policymakers and personnel during his visit.

The Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2022, the flagship engagement activity of the Australian Department of Defence, returns to India this year.

The two countries currently have strained relations with China.

While India has been locked in a military stalemate with China for more than two years, Australia-China relations are at their lowest since 2020, with Beijing imposing high tariffs, unofficial bans and demands strict controls for Australian exports.

Albanese attended a Quad Summit hours after being sworn in last month and recently sent Foreign Secretary Penny Wong to Pacific island nations to dissuade them from striking new security deals with China.


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    Rezaul H Laskar is Foreign Affairs Editor at the Hindustan Times. His interests include cinema and music.
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