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India is one of our closest security partners: Australia deputy PM Richard Marles

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Ahead of his visit to India on Monday from 20-23 June,  Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defence minister Richard Marles said that India is one of the closest security partners and Australia will work closer on Indo-Pacific.

“Both the coutnries are comprehensive strategic partners and I am committed to strengthening Australia’s defence and security cooperation with India,” Marles said in a statement released by the Australian Embassy in India.

Talking about the Indo-Pacific region, Marles said that 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. “Australia stands ready to work closer with India in support of an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific,” he said.

Marles said that this visit is significant as it’s the first high level foreign trip from Australia after a new government under Prime Minister Anthony Albanese was formed in May. Earlier, PM Albanese had met Indian PM Narendra Modi during the Quad leaders summit in Tokyo.

There has been significant rise in the defence and security cooperation between India and Australia in the last few years. “I am looking forward to meeting with my counterpart Defence Minister Rajnath Singh into holding our first bilateral Defence Ministers’ meeting. He  has been instrumental in advancing our defence ties and I look forward to working with him to enhance the defence pillar of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Marles said.

He added that India is one of Australia’s closest security partners and the government is focused on revitalising Australia’s historically deep engagement with itsr partners across the Indo-Pacific.

During the visit, Marles will also meet External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and engage in national security and defence policymakers and personnel. The Defence Ministry’s flagship engagement activity ‘Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022′ returns to India this yearamid the 75th anniversary of India’ s independence.

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