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

Indo-Pacific figures prominently in discussions between PM Modi, Scott Morrison

ANI | Updated: Jun 04, 2020 23:45 IST

New Delhi [India], June 04 (ANI): The Indo-Pacific figured prominently during discussions in the first virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison with the two countries also deciding on a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the region amid muscle-flexing by China.
The Indo-Pacific figured in the speeches of Prime Minister Modi and the Australian PM and also found prominent mention in the joint statement issued by the two countries.
Morrison said in his remarks that Australia is committed to open, an inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific and India''s role in that region will be critical in the years ahead.
The Prime Minister said that India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia in a comprehensive and quick manner and it is important not only for the two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
The two leaders decided on a Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region to harness opportunities and meet challenges together as Comprehensive Strategic Partners.
In the joint declaration on the shared vision, India and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to promoting peace, security, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region which is vital for the world.
"As two key Indo-Pacific countries, India and Australia have an enduring interest in a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region," the declaration read.
The two countries said they have a shared interest in ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight in the Indo-Pacific region, and maintaining open, safe and efficient sea lanes for transportation and communication.
Indo Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.
China's territorial claims in the South China Sea its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counter claims in South China Sea.
The statement said India and Australia 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, according to the declaration.
"In this regard, Australia expressed support for India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) which will promote better coordination and cooperation among the countries in the region on maritime-related issues," it said.
The two countries reiterated their commitment to ASEAN centrality and unity and will strengthen their coordination in regional and multilateral fora, such as the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and the International Maritime Organization, to achieve their shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. India and Australia welcome the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific.
India and Australia also signed seven agreements including an MOU on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of Critical and Strategic Minerals.
Australia conveyed that India could consider it as a stable, reliable and trusted supplier of high-quality mineral resources to India. Both sides jointly decided to diversify and expand the existing resources partnership.
"The MOU on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of critical and strategic minerals identifies specific areas where both sides will work together to meet the technological demands of the future economy. Both countries jointly decided to cooperate on new technologies for exploration and extraction of other minerals," the declaration read.
Both sides agreed to share technologies and resources to support the health and sustainability of oceans and water resources, including through regional institutions.
They also concurred to build on existing commitments to combat marine litter and single-use plastic waste, and target Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. (ANI)