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India, Australia ink landmark Defence Pact to access Each Other's Bases

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    9th Jun, 2020

India and Australia inked a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support besides firming up six more pacts to further broaden ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held an online summit.

Context

India and Australia inked a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support besides firming up six more pacts to further broaden ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held an online summit.

About

Highlights of the Summit

  • The first-ever virtual bilateral summit between India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison saw inking of seven agreements in total, including the agreement on access to military bases.
  • India and Australia forged a major defence alliance by signing an ‘Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA)’.
  • The countries upgraded their relations to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
  • The other important agreements signed during the summit include-
    • a framework arrangement on cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation
    • a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in mining and processing of critical and strategic minerals
    • an implementing arrangement on cooperation in defence science and technology to the existing MoU on defence cooperation.
    • Vocational education
    • Water resources management
  • The two countries also released a declaration on “Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific”that advocated for a “rules-based maritime order that is based on respect for sovereignty and international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law”.

What is Mutual Logistics Support Agreement?

  • The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) will allow 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.
  • This cooperation includes the Australia-India Framework for Security Cooperation
    • regular dialogues involving Ministers responsible for foreign, defence and trade policy
    • a broad range of senior officials meetings, such as the Defence Policy Talks, Australia-India Maritime Dialogue and Navy to Navy Staff Talks.
  • India has already signed similar agreements with the US, France and Singapore.

Conclusion

This Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) is expected to help in the interoperability and will help the military platforms to receive support and supplies in both countries. There is great potential in the future of the India-Australia relationship particularly in the maritime domain. The geographic location of both countries relative to each other provides the ability for effective Maritime Domain Awareness over a large swath of the Indo-Pacific.

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