Monday, December 11, 2023

Australian Defence Minister arrives in India to boost security ties

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On Monday, Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles came in India for a bilateral meeting with his Indian colleague Rajnath Singh to deepen bilateral defence and security cooperation.

“Arrived in India – a top-tier partner + close friend to Australia. I look forward to advancing our ongoing defence engagement as Comprehensive Strategic Partners and reiterate our commitment for closer cooperation in the #IndoPacific,” Marles tweeted. 

His visit is Australia’s first high-level visit since newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese assumed office on May 23.

The Australian Defence Minister will conduct his first bilateral discussion with his Indian colleague Rajnath Singh during his visit from June 20 to June 23.

“Australia and India are Comprehensive Strategic Partners. I am committed to strengthening Australia’s defence and security cooperation with India,” said Marles. “I am looking forward to meeting with my counterpart, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and holding our first bilateral Defence Ministers’ Meeting,” he added.

Marles added that Rajnath Singh has been essential in promoting India-Australia defence cooperation and that he looks forward to working with him to further the defence pillar of the two countries’ Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The minister also stated that India is one of Australia’s closest security allies, and that the government is committed to revitalising Australia’s traditionally profound engagement with our Indo-Pacific partners.

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

Deputy Prime Minister Marles will also meet with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and meet with national security and defence policymakers and professionals during his visit.

Earlier, Australian Prime Minister Albanese stated that Australia’s connection with India is critical, and that ties between the two nations have never been stronger.

“Our relationship with India is a very important one and it was a great honour to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Prime Minister Albanese was congratulated by PM Modi on his electoral victory. Both presidents discussed the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’s multifaceted collaboration, which includes commerce and investment, defence manufacturing, renewable energy, green hydrogen, education, science and technology, agricultural research, sports, and people-to-people relations.

Both Prime Ministers expressed their determination to keep the bilateral relationship on a constructive track. Bilateral conversations with PM Modi focused on the complete strategic and economic agendas of Australia and India, including sustainable energy technologies.

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