Navies of India, Australia ink document for boosting cooperation in Indo-Pacific

New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) The Indian and Australian navies on Wednesday signed a document that provides for consolidating shared commitment to promote peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

The defence ministry said the document, ‘Joint Guidance for Australia — India Navy to Navy Relationship’, is aimed at ensuring a shared approach to regional and global security challenges.

“The document would be pivotal in consolidating the shared commitment to promote peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region,” it said.

The document was firmed up a ceremony held virtually between Indian Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Vice Admiral Michael J Noonan, Chief of Navy of Australian Navy.

In June last year, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

The Australian Navy was part of the Malabar naval exercise hosted by India in November last year. The navies of the US and Japan were also part of it.

“The document is aligned to the 2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreed by the prime ministers (of the two countries) and aims to ensure shared approached to regional and global security challenges,” the ministry said in a statement.

It said the joint guidance would serve as a guideline document to showcase the intent of both the Navies to work together bilaterally and multilaterally.

“The broad scope of the guidance is focused on developing mutual understanding, cooperate for regional security, collaborate in mutually beneficial activities and to develop interoperability,” the ministry said.

“The highlights of document include close cooperation in regional and multilateral fora, including Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA)and Expert Working Groups subordinate to the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus framework,” it added.