Melbourne [Australia], June 20 (ANI): Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles will be on a visit to India from Monday to hold a bilateral meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to strengthen defence and security cooperation between both the countries.
His visit marks the first high-level visit from Australia after newly-elected prime minister Anthony Albanese took office on May 23.
During his visit from June 20-23, Defence Minister Marles will hold his first bilateral Defence Ministers' meeting with Union Minister Rajnath Singh.
"Australia and India are Comprehensive Strategic Partners. I am committed to strengthening Australia's defence and security cooperation with India," said Australia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles.
"I am looking forward to meeting with my counterpart, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and holding our first bilateral Defence Ministers' Meeting," he added.
"Minister Singh has been instrumental in advancing India-Australia defence ties and I look forward to working with him to enhance the defence pillar of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership," Deputy Prime Minister Marles said.
The Minister also noted that India is one of Australia's closest security partners and the Government is focused on revitalising Australia's historically deep engagement with our partners across the Indo-Pacific.
"The rules-based international order that has brought peace and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific for decades is experiencing pressure, as we face shifts in the geostrategic order," Deputy Prime Minister Marles said.
"Australia stands ready to work closely with India in support of an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific".
During the visit, Deputy Prime Minister Marles will also meet External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and engage national security and defence policymakers and personnel.
Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022, Defence's flagship engagement activity, returns to India this year. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of India's independence.
Earlier, the Australian PM Albanese said that the relationship with India is very important and ties between the two countries have never been closer. Speaking to ANI, the Australian PM said, "Our relationship with India is a very important one and it was a great honour to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi."PM Modi congratulated Prime Minister Albanese on his election victory. Both leaders reviewed the multi-faceted cooperation under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including trade and investment, defense manufacturing, renewable energy, green hydrogen, education, science and technology, agricultural research, sports, and people-to-people ties.
Both Prime Ministers affirmed their desire to continue the positive momentum in the bilateral relationship. Bilateral discussions with PM Narendra Modi focused on Australia and India's full strategic and economic agenda, including clean energy technology.
The momentum of the bilateral relationship intensified with regular high-level exchanges, despite the pandemic-induced disruption. Prime Minister Modi held the first in-person bilateral meeting in the post-pandemic period with former Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on September 23, 2021.
Prime Minister also met Morrison in Glasgow on the sidelines of CoP26 Climate Summit on November 1, 2021. Together with other leaders, they jointly launched the 'Infrastructure for the Resilient Island States (IRIS)' at the World Leaders Summit at COP26, Glasgow on November 2, 2021.
Former Prime Minister Morrison and Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne participated (virtually) in the Raisina Dialogue in April 2021. Prime Minister delivered the keynote address at the Sydney Dialogue, on India's technology evolution and revolution on 18 November 2021.
EAM participated in the Sydney Dialogue session on "Democracies and Global Technology Governance" with Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne and Nick Clegg, VP, Facebook on November 19, 2021. EAM virtually delivered the prestigious annual JG Crawford Oration at the Australian National University.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne visited Delhi and co-chaired the First India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue with EAM and Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh on September 11, 2021. The Dialogue reflected the growing convergence between India and Australia on security issues and a shared commitment for a free, open, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. (ANI)