Two landmark Defence Arrangements between Australia and India have been established as part of the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement provide a framework to deepen defence cooperation between the two countries.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said India is a significant security partner for Australia.
“We have a strong shared interest in working together to support a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Minister Reynolds said.
The Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement will enhance military interoperability, enabling increasingly complex military engagement, and greater combined responsiveness to regional humanitarian disasters.
This arrangement paves the way for greater cross-service military activity, building on the success of AUSINDEX 2019, which focused on anti-submarine warfare.
The Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement will facilitate improved collaboration between defence science and technology research organisations, both of whom have made important contributions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We now have a solid framework for Indian and Australian defence organisations to enhance our research collaboration and develop defence capabilities that help maintain our technological edge in this era of rapid change and increasing threats,” Minister Reynolds said.
“These arrangements reflect India and Australia’s strong commitment to practical global cooperation. We look forward to being able to recommence engagement in person as soon as circumstances permit.”
ADM Comment: Although Australia has long sought to strengthen its military ties with India, which along with Japan is seen as a regional counterweight to China, New Delhi has been more cautious. The revival of ‘the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue 2.0’ between the US, Japan, India and Australia has yielded plenty of discussion but no significant joint military exercise involving all four members. For example, India has yet to allow Australia to participate in the Malabar exercise alongside the US and Japan for fear of antagonising China. This announcement suggests an invite could be on the way.