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Australia, Indonesia agree to further defence co-operation, interoperability

Australia and Indonesia have renewed a defence co-operation arrangement in a move aimed at deepening interoperability and enhancing ties between the two countries' forces, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton announced on 9 September.

The agreement, which was first signed in 2012 and last updated in 2018, underlines Canberra and Jakarta's commitment to bolstering defence co-operation on shared security challenges, with Dutton pointing out in a statement that the renewal will result in increased joint training initiatives and operational activities, as well as in more cadets from the Indonesian National Armed Forces studying at Australian defence education facilities.

Australia is also set to provide Indonesian peacekeeping forces with 15 Australian-designed and manufactured Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, stated Dutton following a meeting held in Jakarta with his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto and Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi.

The discussions were the first in a joint tour by Dutton and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne for โ€˜2+2' meetings with their counterparts in Indonesia, India, South Korea, and the United States aimed at strengthening economic and security relationships in the Indo-Pacific region.

The two ministers are now set to meet their Indian counterparts in New Delhi, moving on to Seoul, and arriving in Washington on 16 September.

โ€œCo-operation with partners underpins Australia's approach to the strategic challenges we face in the region. Through these dialogues, we will advance our continuous efforts to work with others to make a positive and pro-active contribution to Indo-Pacific peace and stability,โ€ the ministers said in a joint statement.

The other topics set to be discussed during their tour will include the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and the strategic challenge posed by China, including what Canberra described as the latter's use of economic coercion.

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