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India, Australia discuss enhancing defence ties


NEW DELHI: In a bilateral meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles committed to give fillip to the India-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Defence Research and Materiel Cooperation. The group will hold its meeting in Australia this year. This JWG is a crucial mechanism for boosting ties between defence industries.

In a joint statement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said, “The two ministers reviewed the existing defence cooperation activities which have been increasing despite challenges of Covid-19 pandemic and discussed ways to enhance further cooperation.”

The two ministers welcomed the growing diversity and frequency of defence exercises and exchanges between the two countries and “undertook to build upon operational engagements through the India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement.”

The ministers reviewed the defence and security pillars of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). In June 2020, India and Australia elevated the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

They reaffirmed their commitment towards  implementation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership based on mutual trust, common interests and shared values, of democracy and rule of law, the MoD said.

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. 

The ministers also discussed further opportunities for industrial cooperation to increase the resilience of supply chains and deliver capabilities to their respective defence forces. Both sides agreed to explore means to grow connections and opportunities.