(TibetanReview.net, Jun23’22) – India and Australia are strengthening their military ties directed against the common source of their security threat: China. They decided on Jun 22 to further crank up their defence ties through combat exercises, intelligence-sharing, reciprocal logistics and military-industrial collaboration while working steadfastly towards their shared objective of an open, resilient and secure Indo-Pacific in the face of aggressive moves by China, reported the timesofindia.com Jun 22.
The report said that Australian deputy PM and defence minister Richard Marles, in the first high-level visit to India since the new Anthony Albanese government came to power in Canberra very recently, strongly backed India in its over two-year long military confrontation with China in eastern Ladakh.
“The assault on Indian forces along the Line of Actual Control in 2020 was a warning we should all heed. Australia stood up for India’s sovereignty then and continues to do so now,” Marles has said.
The report also said China’s recent security pact with strategically-located archipelago Solomon Islands in the Pacific and its expansionist moves in the South China Sea also figured in the Australians’ extensive talks with the Indian delegation led by defence minister Rajnath Singh.
“The two sides also discussed ways to expand maritime and other cooperation in the Indian Ocean and the larger Indo-Pacific region, bilaterally as well as tri-laterally with some ASEAN countries,” the report quoted an official as saying.
Also, speaking later at the National Defence College, Marles has warned that China’s military build-up is “the largest and most ambitious” by any country since World War-II, which was unsettling for its neighbours as well as others in the absence of transparency.
It is “vital” that China commits to resolving the dispute in eastern Ladakh through a process of dialogue consistent with international law. “The global rules-based order matters everywhere, including in the highest place on earth,” he has added.
Singh has said the close defence and security cooperation between India and Australia was an important pillar of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership and crucial for stability in the Indo-Pacific.
The report noted that the two countries in recent years had stepped up their military engagements in tune with their shared strategic interests, with Australia also becoming a regular participant in India’s Malabar naval exercise with the US and Japan.
With an eye firmly on China, the `Quad’ countries (of the USA, India, Australia and Japan) have declared their intent to deter any “coercion” in the Indo-Pacific, the report noted.