Australia’s Deputy PM Richard Marles to take forward defence pillar of ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ with India

Source : News18

Australia’s Deputy PM Richard Marles to take forward defence pillar of ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ with India
Australian defence minister Richard Marles will likely raise the issue of Chinese aggression in the Indo-Pacific and ways to further strengthen the defence ties between both nations (Image: Reuters)

Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles will be on an India visit next week. This will be the first high-level visit from the country after the new Australian PM Anthony Albanese took charge last month. The new Australian defence minister will be in the capital on 21st and 22nd June and hold talks with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh. The visit of the deputy PM is seen as a continuation of the strong ties between New Delhi and Canberra despite the change of guard in the country.

Indian PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM had held bilateral talks in Tokyo on the sidelines of the Quad summit. After taking charge, the Australian minister has been to Singapore for the Shangri La dialogue and later to Japan. At Shangri La dialogue, he said, “I look forward to visiting India soon to take forward the defence pillar of our comprehensive strategic partnership”.

On the sideline of the Shangri La dialogue, Richard Marles met South Korea’s defence minister Lee Jong-sup, Japan’s defence minister Kishi Nobuo, and French Defence minister Sébastien Lecornu and other defence ministers including Canada and Fiji. 

He also participated in a trilateral with American and Japanese defence ministers and held talks with his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe. Australia, along with many countries in the Indo-Pacific including India have faced increased aggressive actions from China.  

The visit is also a major outreach given the minister’s visit to India in less than a month since the new govt took charge. India and Australia have increased defence engagements as both are part of the Malabar exercises, along with US, India and Japan. Earlier this month India and Australia undertook a maritime surveillance initiative in the Indian Ocean region. A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft was deployed to India under the initiative. Earlier this year an Indian P-8I aircraft was deployed to Darwin when both countries undertook coordinated maritime patrols in Northern Australia for the first time.

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