India and Australia to strengthen defense ties, even as Canberra backs Delhi in Ladakh clash with China | India News


NEW DELHI: India and Australia decided on Wednesday to strengthen their defense ties through combat exercises, intelligence sharing, reciprocal logistics and military-industrial collaboration, as well as work tirelessly towards their common goal of an open Indo-Pacific. , resilient and secure in the face of aggressive moves by China.
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Richard Marlesin the first high-level visit to India since Anthony Albanese’s new government came to power in Canberra, strongly backed India in its more than two-year military confrontation with China in the east of the country . Ladakh.
“The assault on Indian forces along the Line of Actual Control in 2020 was a warning we should all heed. Australia defended India’s sovereignty then and continues to do so today,” Marles said.
China’s recent security pact with the strategically located Solomon Islands archipelago in the Pacific and its expansionist moves in the South China Sea also figured in in-depth discussions with the Indian delegation led by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
“The two sides also discussed ways to expand maritime and other cooperation in the Indian Ocean and the greater Indo-Pacific region, bilaterally and trilaterally with some ASEAN countries,” an official said.
Speaking later at the National Defense College, Marles warned that China’s military buildup was “the largest and most ambitious” of any country since World War II, which was troubling for its neighbors as well as for others in the absence of transparency.
It is “vital” that China commits to resolving the dispute in eastern Ladakh through a process of dialogue in accordance with international law. “The rules-based global order matters everywhere, including in the highest place on earth,” he added.
Marles, who also met Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, said Australia was committed to putting India at the “heart” of his country’s approach to Indo- Pacific and beyond.
Singh, in turn, said the close defense and security cooperation between India and Australia was an important pillar of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership and crucial for stability in the Indo-Pacific.
The two ministers welcomed the increasing diversity and frequency of bilateral military exercises and exchanges, which will include India’s participation in Australia’s Indo Pacific exercise Endeavor in October this year.
They also pledged to leverage operational engagements through the bilateral Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA) arrangement, which provides refueling and docking facilities for US warships and aircraft. other. India also has such a reciprocal military logistics pact with the United States, Australia, Japan, France, South Korea and Singapore.
The Joint Defense Research and Materiel Cooperation Task Force, which will meet in Australia later this year, will also get a boost. “This JWG is a crucial mechanism for strengthening links between defense industries. Areas like AI, cyber, space, quantum and drones have been identified as possible areas of cooperation,” an official said.
In recent years, the two countries have stepped up their military commitments in line with their common strategic interests, with Australia also becoming a regular participant in India’s Malabar Naval Exercise along with the United States and Japan. With an eye on China, the “Quad” countries have declared their intention to deter “coercion” in the Indo-Pacific.
The Quad countries have also launched a number of initiatives to strengthen cooperation in the region, ranging from maritime domain awareness and cybersecurity to securing supply chains in semiconductors, 5G telecommunication and other critical areas.

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