Defense minister Richard Marles said he is committed to strengthening Australia’s security cooperation with India
Australia’s deputy PM and defense minister, Richard Marles, has kicked off his four-day visit to New Delhi on Monday, during which he is expected to meet his Indian counterpart and other top ranking officials.
“India is one of Australia’s closest security partners and the Albanese Labor Government is focused on revitalizing Australia’s historically deep engagement with our partners across the Indo-Pacific,”Marles stated this in a Tuesday Facebook post.
Marles will be meeting his counterpart Rajnath Singh as Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jayankar. “work closer with India in support of an open, inclusive and resilient 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,”Marles was added.
Though the Australian officials described the goal of the trip only in broad terms, the meetings come amid growing security ties between New Delhi and Canberra, which embarked on a more intensive strategic partnership in 2020 after signing a major deal to grant mutual access to each other’s military bases. In addition to enhancing defense cooperation, the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement is designed to increase logistics and maintenance support between both sides.
The visit also coincides with heightened tensions between Australia and China, after Beijing signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, a Pacific nation located about 1,000 miles (1,700km) off Australia’s northeastern coast. Canberra officials have repeatedly denigrated Beijing’s security agreement, suggesting that Beijing would make use of the deal to expand its military presence far beyond its borders.
Australia’s new Labor government has vowed to “step up”Its presence in the Pacific has been a key issue of the campaign after it made China a central theme during the last race.