India and Australia on Thursday inked a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support besides firming up six more pacts to further broadbase ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held an online summit.
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.
India has already signed similar agreements with the US, France and Singapore.
The other pacts will provide for bilateral cooperation in areas of cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology, mining and minerals, military technology, vocational education and water resources management.
In the talks, the two sides also deliberated on a host of key issues including dealing with growing threat of terrorism, maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, reform in the World Trade Organisation and ways to deal with the coronavirus crisis.
The two countries recognised that terrorism remains a threat to peace and stability in the region and strongly condemned the menace in all its forms and manifestations, stressing that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever.
Modi said he believed that it is the "perfect time and perfect opportunity" to further strengthen the relationship between India and Australia.
"We have immense possibilities to make our friendship stronger," Modi said, adding: "How our relations become a 'factor of stability' for our region and for the world, how we work together for global good, all these aspects need to be considered." The prime minister said India was committed to expand its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace, noting that it is important not only for the two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
"The role of our comprehensive strategic partnership will be more important in this period of global epidemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to get out of the economic and social side effects of this epidemic," he said.
Nine documents have been announced/signed during India- Australia Virtual Summit today attended by PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM Scott Morrison.
Here is a list of the documents announced/signed during India - Australia Virtual Summit:
1. Joint statement on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Republic of India and Australia (Announced)
2. Joint Declaration on a Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Inclo- Pacific (Announced)
3. Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cybeo-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation (signed)
4. MOU on cooperation in the field of mining and processing of Critical and Strategic minerals (signed)
5. Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA) (signed)
6. Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperation in Defence Science and Technology to the MoU on Defence Cooperation (signed)
7. Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in the held of Public Administration and Governance Reforms (signed)
8. Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Vocational Education and Training (signed)
9. Memorandum of Understanding on Water Resources Management (signed)
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