Virtual summit: India, Australia elevate ties, sign maritime declaration

The first virtual summit between the leaders of India and Australia has culminated in upgrading bilateral ties to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership, with both sides underlining their commitment to stronger ties and a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

India and Australia signed a wide-ranging maritime declaration, marking a major step forward in the security and defence relationship as part of the rechristened Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

In his remarks via YouTube broadcast on June 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “With Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Australia, we aspire to achieve yet new heights in our collaboration.” the prime minister said.“It is not only important for our two nations but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the whole world who bolster our ties,” he said during the virtual bilateral event.The Australian leader underscored that his administration is committed to an open, inclusive, and prosperous Indo-Pacific and “India’s role in that region, our region will be critical in the years ahead”.

Mr Modi said that India and Australia share deep and extensive ties based on the shared interest and values between the two nations. He stressed that the time is ripe and perfect to further strengthen relations between India and Australia.PM Modi thanked his Australian counterpart for looking after the Indian community and students during this difficult time and reiterated India’s commitment toward strengthening ties with Australia.

In a significant step to deepen strategic partnership, the foreign ministers of the two countries also signed a landmark, cooperative arrangement on cyber affairs and critical technology.

“The Arrangement will enhance our bilateral cooperation on cyber and critical technology issues, which sit at the core of our new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India,” said Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne after signing the Australia-India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber‑Enabled Critical Technologies Cooperation, with India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar.

“Under the Arrangement, Australia and India will work together to promote and preserve an open, free, safe and secure Internet, enhance digital trade, harness critical technology opportunities and address cyber security challenges,” she said.

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