Recently, the Indian Defence Minister and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong as part of the second India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.
Points of Importance:
From the perspective of enhancing strategic ties between India and Australia, both sides emphasized on further co-operation in information exchange and Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness.
Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is defined by the International Maritime Organization as the effective understanding of anything associated with the maritime domain that could impact the security, safety, economy, or environment.
Cooperation in the areas of air-to-air refuelling and hydrography was also discussed.
Hydrography: It is the science that measures and describes the physical features of the navigable portion of the Earth's surface and adjoining coastal areas. Hydrographic surveyors study these bodies of water to see what the "floor" looks like.
Both countries recognized the potential of deepening cooperation in defense industry and research as a means to enhance their already strong relationship.
They Identified potential areas of collaboration including shipbuilding, ship repair and maintenance, as well as aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul.
The shared vision of the countries shall assist them to collaborate in specialized training areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Anti-Submarine Warfare,anti-drone warfare, and the cyber domain, highlighting a commitment to developing advanced defense capabilities.
Two sides also held discussions on joint research in underwater technologies and collaboration between defense start-ups signifies a push for innovation and technological advancement in defense strategies.
Commitment to strengthen bilateral defense relationsand expressed satisfaction over increasing military-to-military cooperation, joint exercises, exchanges, and institutional dialogues was also reaffirmed by both sides.
China Factor in India-Australia Relations:
Both Australia and India support a rules-based international order and they are seeking to forge regional institutions in the Indo-Pacific which are inclusive, promote further economic integration.
The countries’ participation in Quad(India, Australia, US, Japan) is an example of their convergence of interests, based on shared concerns.