India, Australia plan to expand defence ties
NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday held talks with his Australian counterpart Richard Marles during which they concurred that a strong bilateral defence partnership will “augur well” not just for the two countries but also for the overall security of the Indo-Pacific, officials said. The two ministers agreed that deepening cooperation in defence industry and research would “give a fillip to the already strong relationship”, the Indian defence ministry said. Singh suggested that shipbuilding, ship repair and maintenance, and aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) could be the potential areas of collaboration. The leaders reaffirmed the commitment towards further strengthening the defence relations between the two countries, the statement said. Singh congratulated Marles on the maiden and successful conduct of multilateral exercise ‘Malabar’ by Australia in August this year. “Both ministers underscored the importance of further enhancing cooperation in information exchange and maritime domain awareness between the two countries,” it said. “Both the ministers expressed satisfaction at the increasing military-to-military cooperation between the two countries, including joint exercises, exchanges and institutional dialogue,” it said.