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Australia, India reaffirm commitment to enhancing naval ties

Australia and India have reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing naval co-operation across the Indo-Pacific region, in line with ‘comprehensive strategic partnership' agreed by the two countries in 2020 amid growing concerns over an increasingly assertive China.

To this end Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Vice Admiral Michael Noonan and Indian Navy Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh signed the ‘Joint Guidance for the Australia – India Navy to Navy Relationship' on 18 August.

The document, which follows on a similar ‘joint guidance' signed in 2007, is aimed at “ensuring [a] shared approached to regional and global security challenges” and “showcasing the intent of both navies to work together bi/multilaterally”, according to a statement by the Indian government's Press Information Bureau (PIB).

The guidance is designed to develop mutual understanding and co-operation in matters of regional security, as well as to promote collaboration in mutually beneficial activities and develop interoperability, noted the PIB.

The document also highlights plans to increase co-operation in regional and multilateral fora such as the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS), the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and the Expert Working Groups subordinate to the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus framework.

In a separate statement the Department of Defence (DoD) in Canberra said that the new joint guidance “outlines a shared intent to conduct regular talks, professional exchanges, and joint training”, as well as “an intent to collaborate in efforts, including search and rescue [and] humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, where required”.

“We are proud to sign a new shared vision for working even closer with the Indian Navy to promote peace, security, stability, and prosperity in our region,” said Vice Adm Noonan.

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