Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles will go to India on Monday for a bilateral meeting with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to improve bilateral defence and security cooperation.
His visit is Australia’s first high-level visit since newly-elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese assumed office on May 23. During his visit from June 20 to 23, Defence Minister Marles will meet with Union Minister Rajnath Singh for the first time.
“Australia and India are Comprehensive Strategic Partners. I am committed to strengthening Australia’s defence and security cooperation with India,” said Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles.
“I am looking forward to meeting with my counterpart, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and holding our first bilateral Defence Ministers’ Meeting,” he added.
“Minister Singh has been instrumental in advancing India-Australia defence ties and I look forward to working with him to enhance the defence pillar of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Deputy Prime Minister Marles said.
The Minister also noted that India is one of Australia’s closest security partners and the Government is focused on revitalising Australia’s historically deep engagement with our partners across the Indo-Pacific.
“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,” Deputy Prime Minister Marles said.
“Australia stands ready to work closely with India in support of an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific”.
During the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Marles will also meet External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and engage national security and defence policymakers and personnel.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022, Defence’s flagship engagement activity, returns to India this year. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of India’s independence.
Earlier, the Australian PM Albanese said that the relationship with India is very important and ties between the two countries have never been closer.
Speaking to ANI, the Australian PM said, “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, military 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on the complete strategic and economic agendas of Australia and India, including sustainable energy technologies.
Despite the pandemic-induced setback, the bilateral relationship gained pace with frequent high-level encounters. On September 23, 2021, Prime Minister Modi met former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in person for the first time since the epidemic.
On November 1, 2021, the Prime Minister will meet Morrison in Glasgow on the fringes of the CoP26 Climate Summit. They will jointly unveil the ‘Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS)’ with other leaders at the World Leaders Summit at COP26 in Glasgow on November 2, 2021.
Former Prime Minister Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne took part (virtually) at the Raisina Dialogue in April 2021. On November 18, 2021, the Prime Minister made the keynote presentation at the Sydney Dialogue on India’s technological progress and revolution.
On November 19, 2021, EAM participated in the Sydney Dialogue session on “Democracies and Global Technology Governance” alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Nick Clegg, VP, Facebook. At the Australian National University, EAM virtually gave the famous annual JG Crawford Oration.
On September 11, 2021, Foreign Minister Marise Payne will visit Delhi and co-chair the First India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue with EAM and Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh. The Dialogue underlined India and Australia’s growing security convergence, as well as a shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.