Friday, December 1, 2023

Australian PM Albanese calls India “top-tier security partner” for Australia

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has described India as a “top-tier security ally” for the country. His travel to India, he added, underlines his government’s determination to putting India at the centre of Australia’s strategy to the Pacific and beyond. He made the statements after boarding INS Vikrant, India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, in Mumbai.

“For Australia, India is a top-tier security partner. The Indian Ocean is central to both countries’ security and prosperity. And there has never been a point in our country’s history where we’ve had such a strong strategic alignment which has been reinforced by my current visit to India and will be reinforced further by Prime Minister Modi’s attendance at the Quad leaders meeting,” the Australian PM said.

Albanese further said, “In a short period of time, we both depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific for our trade and for our economic well-being. And we share an unwavering commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring the Indo-Pacific is open, inclusive and prosperous.”

Albanese sat inside the fighter plane as Indian Navy commanders discussed the INS Vikrant. He also revealed that for the first time, Australia will host Exercise Malabar. In addition, he stated that India will take part in Australia’s ‘Talisman Sabre’ exercise for the first time in August. It was a “huge honour” for him to welcome the Indian Navy to Australia in August.

“I am pleased to announce formally aboard the magnificent INS Vikrant that later this year Australia will host ‘Exercise Malabar’ for the very first time,” the Australian PM said.

“I’m very honoured to be here today on the newly commissioned Indian-designed and manufactured INS Vikrant, my visit reflects my government’s commitment to place India at the heart of Australia’s approach to India both Pacific and beyond. Whilst here, I have had the great pleasure of meeting with the talented and highly professional men and women of India’s Navy. what lifts defence relationships to new levels is the resolve and foresight of those who see the relationship not just for what it is, but for what it could be. One such person is my friend, Prime Minister Modi,” Albanese said while interacting with mediapersons after boarding INS Vikrant.

In his remarks, the Australian PM thanked PM Modi for his “dedication to driving forward our defence and security partnership which is of increasing strategic importance as we navigate the challenges of our region together.” He noted that both nations share an unwavering commitment to rules-based international order.

“For the first time in November, we conducted complex and sophisticated exercises in IndoPacific endeavour and Exercise Ostrahund. This was capped off by Exercise Malabar where we bolstered our military interoperability with India alongside close partners Japan and the United States,” Albanese said.

“More important than these statistics is the sheer complexity and high-end nature of our military engagements which is unprecedented. I predict that 2023 will be busier than ever for our defence cooperation,” he added.

Albanese also spoke about the inaugural Australia-India General Rawat Defence Officer Exchange Program which is currently taking place in India. He said, “This pioneering exchange program created by Prime Minister Modi will ensure our defence personnel develop the familiarity and trust that underpins a close and long-lasting relationship.” His visit to INS Vikrant marks the celebration of 75 years of friendship between India and Australia.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian colleague Albanese attended the first day of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2023 final test match at the Narendra Modi stadium. At the venue, PM Modi greeted his Australian counterpart.

Both prime ministers were greeted with applause as they performed a lap of honour around the vast sports arena to commemorate 75 years of friendship between India and Australia. At the coin toss, a commemorative coin made to commemorate the occasion was used.

To commemorate the occasion, the two leaders rode around the stadium in a specially built chariot. The Australian Prime Minister connected the cricket match to India and Australia’s growing bilateral ties.

After leaving the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, PM Albanese tweeted, “As two cricket-loving nations, Australia and India share a fierce but friendly rivalry. At the heart of this contest is genuine respect, reflecting the affection and friendship between our people.”

“On the field, Australia and India are competing to be the best in the world. Off the field, we are co-operating to build a better world. Prime Minister @narendramodi and I had the honour of opening the fourth test in Gujarat today. Good luck to all the players (but go Australia!),” Albanese further added.

Meanwhile, PM Modi tweeted, “Cricket, a common passion in India and Australia! Glad to be in Ahmedabad with my good friend, PM @AlboMP to witness parts of the India-Australia Test Match. I am sure it will be an exciting game!”

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