Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh holds bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Mr Richard Marles in New Delhi

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh held a bilateral meeting with Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mr Richard Marles in New Delhi on November 20, 2023. Both the ministers reaffirmed their commitment towards further strengthening the bilateral defence relations. They expressed satisfaction at the increasing military-to-military cooperation between the two countries, including joint exercises, exchanges and institutional dialogue. The Raksha Mantri congratulated Minister Marles on the maiden and successful conduct of multilateral exercise ‘Malabar’ by Australia in August this year.

Both ministers underscored the importance to further enhance cooperation in information exchange and maritime domain awareness between the two countries. The two sides are also in an advanced stage of discussion to conclude implementing arrangements on Hydrography Cooperation and cooperation for air-to-air refueling.

Shri Rajnath Singh emphasised that the forces of the two countries should also look at cooperating in niche training areas like Artificial Intelligence, anti-submarine and anti-drone warfare and cyber domain. The two ministers agreed that deepening cooperation in defence industry and research would give a fillip to the already strong relationship.

The Raksha Mantri suggested that shipbuilding, ship repair and maintenance and aircraft Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) could be the potential areas of collaboration. The two ministers also discussed cooperation for joint research in underwater technologies. Collaboration between the defence start-ups of both the countries, including that for solving challenges jointly, was discussed by the ministers. They concurred that a strong India-Australia defence partnership will augur well not just for the mutual benefit of the two countries but also for the overall security of the Indo-Pacific.