Pact inked between navies of India and Australia to bolster cooperation 

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy on Wednesday signed first-of-its-kind pact for talks aimed at further expanding mutual cooperation to promote peace, security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. On August 18, the two navy chiefs had signed a ‘Joint Guidance’ pact. 

“Consequent to the signing of ‘Joint Guidance for the India-Australia Navy to Navy Relationship’ document by the Chiefs of the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) on August 18, the ‘Terms of Reference for the Conduct of Navy-to-Navy Talks between the Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy’ was signed on September 29,” the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Rear Admiral Jaswinder Singh, ACNS (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence) from the Indian side, and Rear Admiral Christopher Smith, Deputy Chief of Naval Staff, RAN signed the Terms of Reference, said Commander Vivek Madhwal, Spokesperson, Indian Navy. 

“The document underpins the broad objective of deeper mutual understanding, trust and transparency, improved goodwill and understanding of each other’s concerns and future directions, and provides detailed guidance for the conduct of IN-RAN N2N Talks. It also provides flexibility for implementation of separate agreements based on the specific outcomes of the talks,” the MoD stated.

The document is significant in the light of the rising India-Australia relationship amid the global focus on Indo-Pacific. “Terms of reference is to make our engagement fruitful and result oriented as the two navies are engaging at various levels,” said a source.  For swift and smooth communication and result the two navies have also worked out details and modalities for various levels of engagement. 

The defence cooperation between India and Australia have strengthened over the years. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, conduct of trilateral Maritime Security Workshop and RAN participation in Exercise Malabar are significant milestones which underline the role played by both navies in bolstering the ties.