India, Australia Ink Strategic Pact In Virtual Summit

India and Australia on Thursday elevated their bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and signed seven agreements including on defence and mining during a virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Aussie counterpart Scott Morrison.

“Affirming their commitment to strengthening India-Australia ties for the long term, they committed to elevating the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP),” a joint statement following the virtual meeting between the leaders of two countries.

“The CSP is based on mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and rule of law. It reflects India and Australia’s strong commitment to the practical global cooperation to address major challenges like COVID-19,” added the statement.

The two countries also announced a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to harness opportunities and meet challenges together as Comprehensive Strategic Partners.

The two countries signed seven agreements including the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA). They 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.

New Delhi and Canberra also signed framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation and an MOU on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of Critical and Strategic Minerals.

Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperation in Defence Science and Technology to the MoU on Defence Cooperation was also signed during the first virtual summit.

The two sides also signed three MoUs on cooperation in public administration and governance reforms, cooperation in vocational education and training and water resources management.

In his opening remark, Prime Minister Modi focused on the importance of a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations, especially during the COVID-19 period. He also called for a coordinated and collaborative approach to overcome the economic and social side effects of the pandemic.

“The role of our comprehensive strategic partnership will be more important in this period of the global epidemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to overcome the economic and social side effects of this epidemic,” added he.

Prime Minister Modi pointed out that India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace. This is important not only for our two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world, stressed Modi, adding further that Australia is one of India’s friends. “So the criteria for the pace of development in our relations should also be ambitious,” he said.

In his remarks, Scott Morrison said that Australia is committed to building an open, inclusive as well as a prosperous Indo-Pacific region and India’s role in that region will be critical in years ahead.

“In the Indo-Pacific, we are committed to an open, inclusive and prosperous region and India’s role in that region will be critical in years ahead. The cultural links that we enjoy between our countries are well known. And what I am excited about is it’s time for our relationship to go broader and go deeper,” Morrison said.


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