India and Australia to strengthen defence ties, even as Canberra backs Delhi on Ladakh confrontation with China



On Wednesday, India and Australia resolved to further strengthen up the defence ties through combat exercises, intelligence-sharing, reciprocal logistics and military-industrial collaboration and work steadfastly towards their shared objective of an open, resilient and secure Indo-Pacific in the face of aggressive moves by China.


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, strongly supported India in its more than 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 said.


The recent security pact of China with strategically located archipelago Solomon Islands in the Pacific and its expansionist moves in the South China Sea also figured in the 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,” an official said.