Defense Minister Richard Marles said he was committed to strengthening Australia’s security cooperation with India
Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles began his four-day visit to New Delhi on Monday, during which he is expected to meet his Indian counterpart and other senior officials.
“India is one of Australia’s closest security partners and the Albanian Labor Government is focused on revitalizing Australia’s historically deep engagement with our partners across the Indo-Pacific” , Marles said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
Ahead of the trip, the ministry said Marles would meet with his counterpart Rajnath Singh, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as well as other national security decision makers, seeking to “work more closely with India to support 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 coming under pressure, as we face shifts in the geostrategic order,” Marles added.
Although Australian officials described the purpose of the trip only in general 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 agreement to grant each other mutual access. military bases. The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) also strengthens logistics and maintenance assistance between the two parties, in addition to enhancing overall defense cooperation.
The visit also coincides with heightened tensions between Australia and China, after Beijing signed a security pact with the Solomon Islands, a Pacific nation about 1,000 miles (1,700 km) off the coast. northeastern Australia. Canberra officials have repeatedly denounced Beijing over the security deal, suggesting it would use the deal to establish a military presence well beyond its borders.
Australia’s new Labor government is committed to “intensify” its own presence in the Pacific after making China a major campaign issue in the recent race.