During his three-day visit, Mr Marles attended the Inaugural Meeting of Defense Ministers and met with several leaders and officials including India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr S Jaishankar.
Beginning on June 20, it was Australia’s first high-level visit under the newly formed government.
- Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles visits India; commits to strengthening defense ties
- His visit marks Australia’s first high-level visit under the newly formed government
- The Australia India Business Council calls the visit ‘timely’ and says there are huge opportunities to explore trade and investment in the defense supply chain
A Defense Ministry spokesperson told SBS Hindi that before heading to India’s capital of New Delhi, the Deputy Prime Minister visited India’s Hansa Naval Station in West Goa. of India, where he was briefed on the very successful combined maritime surveillance activity undertaken by the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force.
In a official statement ahead of his visit, Mr. Marles said: “Australia and India are global strategic partners. I am committed to strengthening Australia’s defense and security cooperation with India.
On Wednesday, the defense ministers of the two countries issued a joint statement stating that the bilateral meeting reviewed existing defense cooperation activities that have grown despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr Marles also visited the National Defense College in New Delhi where he said: “One of the priorities of the new Australian government is India”.
“My visit this week reflects that belief and the Albanian government’s commitment to putting India at the heart of Australia’s approach to the Indo-Pacific and beyond. As Australia’s new Minister for Defence, I come to this post aware of a profound responsibility: to ensure that Australia has the capability to defend itself in the most challenging strategic environment we have encountered since over 70 years,” Mr. Marles said in his speech.
The visit was welcomed by academics and industry experts who stress the importance of the latest meetings.
Baani Grewal, a researcher at the International Cyber Policy Center at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, told SBS Hindi that the partnership between Australia and India, which focuses on maintaining a region based on rules and inclusive, is important.
“The new Australian government was able to reassure India that it would remain a priority partner. Mr Marles even went so far as to say that India would be at the center of Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy” , said Ms. Grewal.
Australia India Business Council (AIBC) National Chairman Jim Varghese welcomed the visit and said, “With the major changes in the Indian defense procurement process, the AIBC sees tremendous opportunities to Australian businesses to take advantage of the strong relationship between the Australian and Indian governments. .”
Echoing similar sentiments, Joe Williams, AIBC National Chairman for the Defense and Security Industry Chapter, said: “Australia’s defense industry is growing rapidly and Australia is now home to leading global defense companies, a thriving network of SMEs and a deep commitment to building an employment-ready defense workforce.