India and Australia strengthen military ties with reduced tension in South China Sea

The deals were announced after a virtual summit between Australian prime ministers Scott Morrison and India Narendra Modi.

“India is thoroughly and rapidly connected to strengthening its relations with Australia. This is important not only for our two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the whole world.” Said.

“We are committed to an open, inclusive, prosperous Indo-Pacific, and India’s role in that region, in our region, will be critical in the coming years,” Morrison said.

The new pact, known as the Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defense Science and Technology Implementation Arrangement, is the rise of military tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, which includes the South China Sea, where China strengthens its positions. on controversial islands.

In a joint post-summit statement, it was announced that both countries “shared the vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region to support the freedom of navigation, extreme flight and peaceful and cooperative use of the seas”.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at a virtual meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, in New Delhi, India on Thursday, June 4, 2020.

The agreements promise to deepen military integration through more complex exercises to the two countries, giving them access to each other’s bases for logistical support.

South China Sea

China claims almost all of the 1.3 million square miles of the South China Sea on its own, despite other demanders with borders much closer to controversial waters. In 2016, a court in The Hague told China that it had no legal basis to claim historical rights to the vast majority of the South China Sea.

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According to the Lowy Institute, Australia has had long-standing security ties with the United States and has been in the South China Sea for a long time and has been conducting airborne patrols since 1980.

Australian warships also regularly visit the area, including participating in exercises with US warships in April.

Last year, Indian warships joined the US, Japanese, and Philippine naval vessels in the South China Sea crossing.

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Meanwhile, India is increasing defense co-operation with the United States, including annual Malabar naval exercises that bring together the U.S. and Indian troops with the Japanese Self Defense Forces.

Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell said in an interview last month that Canberra would be willing to participate in Malabar exercises, but no invitations were extended.

Tensions continued to rise on the India-China border in the Himalaya Mountains, Thursday’s signature.

Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday “a significant number” Chinese troops moved to Actual Control Line separates the two countries.

Last month, an aggressive cross-border conflict between the Chinese and Indian forces resulted in minor injuries in the troops. The incident has been followed up in recent weeks with unverified reports of tensions in the mountainous area, but neither side accepted anything unusual.

CNN’s Angus Watson, Rishabh Madhavendra and Ben Westcott contributed to this report.

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