From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : AUSINDEX
Mains level : India Australia Partnership
This month was a historic moment in the India-Australia bilateral relationship. Under our joint naval exercise known as AUSINDEX, there was the largest ever peacetime deployment of Australian defence assets and personnel to India.The deepening India-Australia security relationship must be seen against the backdrop of expanding bilateral ties.
- The third iteration of our bilateral naval exercise, AUSINDEX, which has just concluded (April 2-16), builds on a fourfold increase in our defence engagement — from 11 defence exercises, meetings and activities in 2014 to 38 in 2018.
- The Indian Navy’s Eastern Naval Command hosted an impressive array of high-end Australian military hardware, including the Royal Australian Navy’s flagship, HMAS Canberra and the submarine, HMAS Collins.
- The Canberra is the size of a small aircraft carrier. She can carry over 1,000 troops and 16 helicopters. These vessels were joined by frigates, aircraft and around 1,200 sailors, soldiers and airmen and women.
- As well as being Australia’s largest defence deployment to India, the exercise was the most complex ever carried out between defence forces. For the first time, navies undertook anti-submarine warfare exercises.
- And in a similar show of trust and cooperation, Indian and Australian maritime patrol P-8 aircraft flew coordinated missions over the Bay of Bengal.
Mark of greater alignment
1.Shared Values –
When Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, visited India earlier this year, in January, she emphasised on shared outlook as free, open and independent democracies, as champions of international law, as supporters of an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and as firm believers that ‘might is not right’.
2.Indo- Pacific Region –
- A key element of Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy is partnering with India in the vibrant Indian Ocean Region.
- India is a leader in this region and Australia is a natural partner for addressing shared challenges.
- Together they must continue to work together to combat transnational crime, terrorism, people smuggling, and illegal fishing, in order to enjoy a peaceful and prosperous Indian Ocean Region.
3. Indian Ocean Concerns – As the nation with one of the longest Indian Ocean coastlines and with more than half of our goods trade departing Indian Ocean ports, Australia is committed to addressing humanitarian and environmental challenges inIndian Ocean neighbourhood.
Australia’s initiatives in Pacific –
- Development Aid- In November 2018 Australia announced the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. This AU$2 billion initiative will boost Australia’s support for infrastructure development in Pacific countries.
- Security Relationship –Australia will establish a Pacific Fusion Centre to provide real-time surveillance data for countries across the region as well as enhancing policing and military training both bilaterally and through regional centres.
- Australia is building diplomatic and economic relationships with Southeast Asia to build resilience and prosperity in region.
- The recently announced Southeast Asia Economic Governance and Infrastructure Initiative, worth AU$121 million, will help unlock Southeast Asia’s next wave of economic growth.
- All this activity is happening against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding India-Australia relationship.
- People-to-people and economic links are on the rise.
- The Indian diaspora in Australia is both strong and growing.
- One in 50 Australians today was born in India; almost 90,000 Indian students studied in Australia last year; and over 350,000 tourists visited Australia from India in 2018.
- We are working together to see India become a top three trading partner for Australia by 2035.
- So on the one hand, we should welcome the successful AUSINDEX exercise as a step up in our strategic partnership.
- At the same time, we should recognise it also as the natural next step in a friendship between Australia and India that is marked by growing trust, understanding and camaraderie.