Foreign Policy Watch: India-Australia

India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (LSA)

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : LSA

Mains level : India-Au bilateral relations

India and Australia have moved closer to closing in on the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), as the Foreign and Defence Secretaries from both countries met in New Delhi.  The LSA is one of the key agenda points during PM Morrison’s coming visit.

Logistics Support Agreement (LSA)

  • The Agreement will allow the two countries to use each other’s military bases for logistics support, including food, water, and petroleum.
  • The two sides carried out a comprehensive review of their strategic engagement and the regional security scenario, which is continuously evolving given China’s military expansion and economic influence.

Back2Basics

India-Australia strategic relations

  • When it comes to defence, India and Australia share a common concern over China; it is that aspect which informs a lot of the bilateral transactions between the two countries.
  • While Australia is worried about China’s presence in the Pacific, India is worried about China’s increasing activities and influence in the Indian Ocean.
  • Earlier this year, the Australian and Indian navies concluded a two-week-long bilateral maritime exercise code-named AUSINDEX.
  • From 2016-18, the armies of the countries conducted a joint military exercise dubbed “AUSTRA HIND”.
  • Significantly, for the first time in 2017, Australia’s Foreign Policy White Paper identified India as being at the “front rank” of Australia’s international partnerships.

The Quad

  • The informal strategic Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD) that was initiated by Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007 was largely in response to China’s growing power and influence.
  • Initially, the Quad” members included India, Japan, the US, and Australia; however Australia chose to withdraw since it did not want to be a part of an anti-China alliance at the time.
  • For Australia to begin embroiling itself in any emerging military alliance with Japan against China, in the absence of any formal reconciliation between Tokyo and Beijing over the events of the Second World War (Nanking Massacre), was incompatible.
  • However, Australia later rejoined the dialogue in 2017 on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit, signalling a re-ignition in Australia’s interest in the dialogue.
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