HomeIndian DefenceIndia-Australia Defence Partnership: Building a win-win India-Australia Defence Partnership

India-Australia Defence Partnership: Building a win-win India-Australia Defence Partnership

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There has been an evolving geopolitical dynamic in the Indo-Pacific, particularly between Australia and India, along with other like-minded nations. Both nations have united to bolster regional security and prosperity at various forums and summits recognising their shared values as maritime democracies. The partnership aims to safeguard maritime security, ensure freedom of navigation and trade, and counter assertive behaviour in the region.

This was articulated at a discussion titled “Bolstering Australia-India Defence & Security Relations” organised by leading public policy body CUTS International.

Addressing the meet Commodore Anil Jai Singh said, “Even though Australia is 7000 miles away it is still India’s most crucial neighbour to counter China in the Indian Ocean”.

The discussion was moderated by Pradeep S. Mehta, Secretary General CUTS International. Justin Bassi, Executive Director of Australian Strategic Policy Institute and Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow, CUTS International, set the ball rolling with their extensive remarks.

In his opening remarks, Mehta referred to the sentiments echoed by the High Commissioners of India, Gopal Baglay and Australia, Philip Green recently to highlight the imperative for deeper engagement in the defence and technology landscape between the two countries.

In order to bolster the defence relations, Mehta underscored that “there is an urgency of revitalising the Joint Working Group on Defence Research and Material Cooperation, which has remained dormant since its inception, calling for immediate attention to this vital aspect of bilateral collaboration.”Bassi spoke about the evolving strength of the bilateral relationship between Australia and India, particularly in the realm of maritime security and defence. Reflecting on past decades, Bassi noted a shift in Australia’s perspective towards recognising the interconnectedness of economic and security issues.He traced the reformation of the Quad from 2017 onwards, emphasising its growing significance in addressing multiple challenges simultaneously. Bassi stressed “the need for the Quad to encompass both economic prosperity and security concerns, which are not two separate issues but one”.

Wadhwa outlined five key areas for potential collaboration between India and Australia. First, the significance of advanced technologies such as sensors, underwater technologies, quantum computing, laser, and hypersonic technologies, along with collaboration in shipbuilding needs to be embedded in the cooperation framework.

Secondly, the underwater domain awareness and protection of undersea assets, particularly in the context of strategic cable routes is an untapped domain for both nations.

Thirdly, the challenge of Indian participation in submarine-related work amid evolving technological landscapes calls for active maritime awareness and aggressive undersea and maritime collaboration between India and Australia.

Fourth, Wadhwa stressed on the importance of private sector cooperation in space technology for enhancing maritime domain awareness. He underscored the necessity for the Quad to deliver tangible outcomes, particularly in addressing regional challenges and fostering global good.

Finally, Wadhwa spoke about the need for joint efforts by both Australia and India to assist Pacific island states to address climate change, development, and regional needs effectively.

The panellists unanimously underscored the pivotal role of maritime cooperation between India and Australia, emphasising the growing collaboration exemplified by joint maritime exercises like Exercise Milan and Malabar which underscore their strategic positioning in the Indo-Pacific.

The discussion affirmed the significance of strategic cooperation amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics as it is believed that Australia and India can contain China’s maritime expansion through cooperative naval efforts, fostering a secure Indo-Pacific.

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