As part of the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4 June, two landmark Defence Arrangements between Australia and India have been established.
The Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement provide a framework to deepen defence cooperation between the two countries.
“The CSP takes our bilateral relationship to a new level of cooperation, based on mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and the rule of law,” said Prime Minister Scott Morison in a statement 4 June. “Our Partnership is in line with India’s increasing engagement in the Indo-Pacific region through her Indo-Pacific vision and Australia’s Indo-Pacific approach and its Pacific Step-Up for the South Pacific. Our Foreign and Defence Ministers will meet in a ‘2+2’ format at least every two years to discuss strategic issues and take forward our Partnership.”
The CSP also includes bilateral agreements in closer cooperation in scientific and medical R&D, cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation, mining and processing of critical and strategic minerals and maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said India is a significant security partner for Australia.
“We have a strong shared interest in working together to support a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Minister Reynolds said.
The Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement will enhance military interoperability, enabling increasingly complex military engagement, and greater combined responsiveness to regional humanitarian disasters.
The Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement will facilitate improved collaboration between the two countries’ defence science and technology research organisations, both of whom have made important contributions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. DST’s equivalent in India is the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), located in Delhi and part of the Indian Ministry of Defence.
“We now have a solid framework for Indian and Australian defence organisations to enhance our research collaboration and develop defence capabilities that help maintain our technological edge in this era of rapid change and increasing threats,” Minister Reynolds said.
“These arrangements reflect India and Australia’s strong commitment to practical global cooperation. We look forward to being able to recommence engagement in person as soon as circumstances permit.”