India and Australia to elevate strategic partnership during Defense Minister Rajnath Singh are expected to visit Australia in November when a comprehensive maritime cooperation agreement is expected to be concluded to enhance the long-pending mutual logistic support agreement and strategic partnership between the two countries, defense, and diplomats. Sources said.
“A comprehensive maritime agreement, including mutual logistic support agreement, information exchange, and maritime domain awareness, is expected to be concluded soon. These will promote greater inter-applicability and help to enhance strategic partnership, ”a diplomatic source told The Hindu.
The source said that a series of high-profile visits have started with the aim of enhancing the partnership, with more trips scheduled. Naval Chief Admiral Karambir Singh visited Australia and New Zealand earlier this month. The Defense Minister said that Defense Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Australia in November and a mutual logistic support agreement will be signed.
The two countries have steadily increased cooperation in maritime domain awareness. A source said, the information exchange agreement with the border mandate is important for better maritime domain awareness.
Australia was keen on a mutual logistic support agreement with the US in 2016 after signing the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement and submitted a draft. But New Delhi said that it would consider more such agreements only after commissioning for the first time. India signed such agreements with South Korea earlier this month.
A bilateral naval exercise held earlier this year, AUSINDEX saw the participation of the largest Australian naval contingent sent to India with over 1,000 men. Officials in both countries said that with greater engagement, the mutual logistic support agreement would facilitate cooperation by simplifying paperwork and procedures, which are “very good”.
Defense cooperation has been outlined between India and Australia on Defense Cooperation 2006, Memorandum on Defense Cooperation, Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation 2009 and Bilateral Framework for Security Cooperation 2014.
Source: The Hindu