India-Australia Sign Maritime, Defence MoUs in First Virtual Meet

This is the first time that the Prime Minister of India held a bilateral online summit with a foreign leader.

Updated05 Jun 2020, 05:21 AM IST
2 min read

India and Australia on Thursday, 4 June, entered into a comprehensive strategic partnership by signing a wide-ranging joint declaration based on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.

The decision was taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Scott Morrison during the first virtual summit between India and Australia on Thursday.

Prime Minister Modi called it a new model of India-Australia partnership and a new model of conducting business, with which both the countries "aspire to achieve yet new heights in collaboration".

Morrison said that mutual trust, shared values, and common interests between the two countries provide a strong foundation for working together even more closely.

“I thank you (PM Modi) for your leadership not just within India but broadly throughout G20, Indo-Pacific and the stabilizing, constructive & very positive role that you have played in these very difficult times,” said Morrison hailing PM Modi's role in global leadership.

“We share an ocean and we share responsibility for that ocean as well, its health, well being and security. The relationship we are forming around those issues on our maritime domain, I think is the platform for so many other things between our countries,” he added.

While the two nations assured each other of all possible support to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Morrison congratulated PM Modi on India taking the lead in WHO.

“I commend India on its leadership on taking Chair of WHO’s executive board. This is a very important time to be chairing that board and I have no doubt that India’s leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area,” he said.

The two sides signed a framework arrangement on cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of critical and strategic minerals.

Canberra and New Delhi signed an arrangement for mutual logistics support and implementing arrangements for cooperation in defence, science and technology in the MoU on defence cooperation.

Other MoUs on cooperation in the field of public administration and governance reforms, cooperation in vocational education and training, and water resources management were also signed.

Officials told The Indian Express that there was no discussion on the ongoing stand-off between India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Joint Declaration

In a joint statement, both nations agreed to enhance maritime and defence co-operation

“India and Australia are committed to supporting a rules-based maritime order that is based on respect for sovereignty and international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the statement said.

“Both sides agreed to continue to deepen and broaden defence cooperation by enhancing the scope and complexity of their military exercises and engagement activities to develop new ways to address shared security challenges,” it added.

“Both sides agreed to increase military inter-operability through defence exercises through their Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA),” it further said.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that the decisions taken on Thursday marked a major step forward in Australia and India's security and defence relationships.

(With inputs from ANI, IANS and The Indian Express.)

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Published: 04 Jun 2020, 04:56 AM IST

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