Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian counterpart Scott Morrison

India, Australia elevate ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, raise level of 2+2 dialogue, sign MLSA

ANI | Updated: Jun 05, 2020 00:42 IST

New Delhi [India], June 5 (ANI): India and Australia on Thursday signed some an agreement for Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA) and elevated their bilateral ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) as they reaffirmed their commitment to an enduring interest in a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
The first virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison lasted beyond the scheduled time of 40 minutes during which both the leaders exchanged views on the spectrum of issues including Indo Pacific.
The two countries also decided to upgrade their `2+2' dialogue from the level of secretaries to that of ministers. Foreign and defence ministers of the two countries will meet in the format at least every two years to pursue the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
The "extremely productive" meeting took place virtually because of coronavirus pandemic. Morrison's visit had been deferred earlier.
The two leaders recognised the importance of global cooperation for saving lives and managing the economic impacts of COVID-19, and future global challenges.
The two countries signed a framework arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation and an MOU on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of Critical and Strategic Minerals.
A joint statement said the two countries were committed to continuing to work together through various plurilateral mechanisms, including trilateral meetings with Japan, trilateral meetings with Indonesia and consultations on COVID-19 with Japan, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Vietnam, and the United States.
Recognising that terrorism remains a threat to peace and stability in our region, both sides strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever. The two leaders called for the early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
The joint statement said that CSP is based on mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and rule of law.
The CSP, it said, reflects India and Australia's strong commitment to the practical global cooperation to address major challenges like COVID-19.
The two sides also unveiled a "shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo- Pacific".
The joint statement said the two sides are committed to work together with partners and relevant regional organisations across the Indo-Pacific, including ASEAN, to enhance capacity for sustainable management of marine resources and challenges in maritime domains.
Both sides agreed to increase military inter-operability through defence exercises through their Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA).
In his remarks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace. This is important not only for our two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world, he said, adding that "criteria for the pace of development in our relations should also be ambitious".
Morrison said the trade and investment relations between India and Australia is growing a lot faster and noted that the comprehensive strategic partnership that has been formed over the virtual meet will take the bilateral relationship to a new level.
"In a time like this, we want to do very much with friends and trusted partners. This is a partnership which has stood the test during the course of this current crisis. We share a vision for open and free rules by multilateral systems in our region whether that is in the health area or it is in the trade or other places," he said.
India and Australia also concluded a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training to forge new bonds of cooperation in policy development, programme delivery and information exchange. (ANI)