Australia, India to deepen defence cooperation

The two countries held a formal bilateral Defence Ministers’ Dialogue in Canberra Wednesday for deepening their contemporary bilateral defence-to-defence and military-to-military cooperation, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Indian Minister of Defence A.K. Antony announced.

“India and Australia have a shared interest in helping to address these strategic changes, including through defence collaboration,” Smith said in a statement.

According to Smith, Australia’s contemporary bilateral defence-to-defence and military-to-military cooperation with India occurs under the framework of the Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation, which was issued by the prime ministers of Australia and India in 2009, reported Xinhua.

Australia and India also cooperate in a range of regional fora, including the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation. Australia will be the chair of IONS next year and host its Conclave of Chiefs in Perth in March 2014.

During Wednesday’s dialogue, Smith said he and Antony agreed to practical measures that would further enhance bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries.

In addition, India also accepted Australia’s invitation for Indian naval ship participation in the International Fleet Review that will occur in Sydney in October this year.

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