India, Australia to strengthen security, Indo-Pacific cooperation

Blending cricket and the colours of Holi, India and Australia have taken their burgeoning strategic partnership to the next level by agreeing to boost cooperation in defence, mobility of professionals and in shaping an inclusive Indo-Pacific. The two G20 economies also decided to move ahead with Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to upgrade an interim trade deal finalised last year.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the annual summit meeting with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in New Delhi on March 10.  Addressing a joint media interaction, Mr Modi singled out security cooperation as an important pillar of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership and underlined that the two sides discussed maritime security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region and ways to enhance bilateral security and defence cooperation.

Mr Albanese assured that both sides are committed to strengthening the defence and security partnership to address shared challenges and work towards an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Modi said he raised India’s concerns about recent attacks on temples in Australia.

PM Modi took up the issue of attacks on Hindu temples suspected to have been linked to pro-Khalistan groups. “It is a matter of concern that in the past few weeks, there have been regular reports of attacks on temples in Australia. It is natural that such news is very worrying and distressing for everyone in India,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi. “I expressed our thoughts and concerns to Prime Minister Albanese. He has assured me that the safety of the Indian community is a priority for him. Our teams will remain in regular contact on this issue and cooperate as necessary,” he added.

Albanese, who is set to visit India again in September for the G20 Summit, assured that strict action will be taken against the perpetrators.

The two sides also signed three agreements on cooperation in sports, audio-visual co-production, and the terms of reference for an India-Australia solar task force. They also signed a letter of intent for cooperation between India’s Atal Innovation Mission and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.


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