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Experts call for greater India-Australia security links

Posted on Dec 08, 07:49PM | UNI

More than 50 experts, officials, parliamentarians, business representatives and journalists from India and Australia participating in a Roundtable have called for the two countries to deepen their security collaboration, including through regular bilateral naval exercises, according to a statement.

They also suggested that the two nations should bring together maritime legal specialists to develop shared understandings on critical regional issues such as freedom of navigation.

Besides, the two countries should maintain and deepen their dialogues with China and other powers to provide reassurance about the stabilising nature of deeper Australia-India security relations.

The experts said the potential areas for future defence cooperation include development of amphibious capabilities, submarine rescue, operational communication links, and maritime domain awareness in overlapping zones of interest in the Indian Ocean, it was pointed out.

The roundtable was supported by the Public Diplomacy Division of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs and the Australia-India Council, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

It was also suggested that India and Australia should work towards an Indian Prime Ministerial visit to Australia and consult closely in the lead-up to the G20 summit in Brisbane in 2014.

One of the key conclusions reached at the roundtable, held here yesterday, was that the relationship between Australia and India was poised at a historic moment. Consciously overcoming a challenging period, leaders of the two countries had realised new levels of mutual trust and confidence that were in turn generating policy momentum.

It was noted that with Indians comprising one of the largest and fastest-growing communities in Australia, there was great scope to harness societal links to strengthen political and business ties.

"It is essential to build constituencies to champion Australia-India relations in both countries during future potential phases of trouble, which occur in any bilateral relationship," the roundtable co-chairs statement said.