Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles To Visit India Next Week

Australian defense minister Richard Marles will visit India next week. His visit marks the first high-level visit from Australia after newly-elected prime minister Anthony Albanese took office.

Marles, who is also the deputy prime minister, will meet Union minister of defense Rajnath Singh, where both ministers will hold bilateral discussion.

The visit also shows that Albanese is prioritizing India like his predecessor Scott Morrison.

Former Australian prime minister Morrison and his cabinet developed strong bonds with India and in several forums pointed out that India is a key partner in the Australia-New Zealand region.

Albanese with his visit coming within a month of him taking office signals that the current Australian government wants that momentum to continue.

The visit which is scheduled for June 20 and June 21 shows Albanese administration’s insistence on developing a strong foreign policy with the aim to counter China.

Both India and Australia in the past have faced troubles due to China’s aggression and also due to its attempts to grab territory which does not belong to them.

Australian prime minister Albanese within hours of his swearing-in reached Tokyo to attend the Quad summit.

He also within days of assuming his role sent foreign minister Penny Wong to the Pacific island-nations to dissuade them from signing any deals with China which would jeopardize those nations’ sovereignty.

Her trip also came at a time when Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi was on a 10-day trip to the region.

India and Australia have earlier participated in tri-service staff-level military dialogues and are signatories of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership signed in 2020.

In April, India deployed its Navy’s P8I plane in the Australian city of Darwin to participate in coordinated maritime operations such as anti-submarine warfare and surface surveillance. India and Australia also participate in AUSINDEX, an exercise which ensures mutual interoperability along with the Malabar exercise.

Both nations have also signed an economic cooperation and trade agreement – the Australia–India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) in April – under which Canberra would provide duty-free access to its markets for over 95% of Indian goods such as textiles, leather, jewelry and sports products.

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