In a virtual summit on Thursday, India and Australia signed a landmark deal, providing access to each other's military bases. The Indian Foreign Ministry informed the media that the pact would clear the way for more military exchanges and exercises in the Indo-Pacific.
The agreement allows Indian and Australian military ships and aircraft to access maintenance facilities available at each other's bases.
The mutual logistic support deal was a part of total seven agreements that have been sealed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
A new model of India-Australia partnership, a new model of conducting business.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 4, 2020
Met my dear friend, PM @ScottMorrisonMP over India-Australia Virtual Summit.
We had an outstanding discussion, covering the entire expanse of our relationship.
Both the countries also affirmed cooperation between their navies and maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
India already signed similar agreements with the US, France and Singapore as a part of broader security cooperation, to tackle China's growing military and economic pressure in the region, Al Jazeera reported.
The joint statement issued after the talks read, "Both sides agreed to continue to deepen and broaden defence cooperation by enhancing the scope and complexity of their military exercises and engagement activities to develop new ways to address shared security challenges."
During the summit, both sides also discussed issues including handling the growing threat of terrorism, reform in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and so forth.
The countries also discussed continuous challenges prevailing with the coronavirus crisis, and vowed to boost collaboration in science, technology and research, strengthening healthcare systems to help combat the outbreak.
Australia also reiterated its support for India's candidacy for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. The country also affirmed its continuous support for India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Morrison's trip to India was due in January, but was eventually cancelled amid the massive bushfires crisis in Australia.
Military officials told the media organisation that India is also looking forward to Australia's participation in annual naval exercises, that the country holds with the US and Japan in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as a sign of concrete security ties between the countries.