Australia participates in the Atmanirbhar Bharat program, which focuses on collaborative manufacture of armaments, in India

Australia participates in the Atmanirbhar Bharat program, which focuses on collaborative manufacture of armaments, in India

India and Australia today added a new facet to their expanding relationship by cooperating in the development of weaponry, highlighting their shared goal of an Indo-Pacific area that is free, open, inclusive, and wealthy.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and visiting Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles focused on a few key areas during their lengthy discussion of the defence and security pillars of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during their meeting in New Delhi on Wednesday.

First off, both parties agreed to examine ways to strengthen links and possibilities between the Indian and Australian military-industrial complex as India advances aggressively toward realizing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's goal of "Made in India, Create for the World" or Atmanirbhar Bharat.

The India-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Military Research and Materiel Cooperation, which will convene in Australia later this year, was given a boost by Singh and Marles. The JWG is an essential tool for strengthening relationships across the defense industry.

With international original equipment manufacturers, India's defense procurement policy promotes cooperative research, design, and manufacturing. The "Strategic Partnership" strategy of the Modi administration also looks to designate a small number of Indian private enterprises as strategic partners that would first collaborate with preselected international original equipment manufacturers to produce significant military systems.

Marles, who traveled to Goa prior to arriving in the Indian capital on Tuesday, also visited INS Hansa and the Goa Shipyard Limited to see firsthand the advancement of India's drone and autonomous car technologies.

The two ministers also spoke about new possibilities for industrial collaboration between Australia and India to strengthen supply chains and provide capabilities to each country's armed services.

"There are also prospects for reciprocal economic gain, particularly as we both seek to diversify and strengthen the robustness of our supply chains, as seen by Prime Minister Modi's military indigenization initiative 'Made in India. Later on in the day, during a speech at the National Defence College, Marles said that the Australian Defence Export Office was keen to send officials from Australia's defense sector to DefExpo, the country's leading defense show.

India and Australia are already elevating their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership by working closely together to find prospects for strategic investment in Australian critical minerals projects, as has reported.

Second, the two ministers discussed strategic issues and the regional security situation since both India and Australia consider the Pacific as an area of the globe that is vital to the peace and development of the whole region.

China is attempting to "shape the globe around it in a manner that it has not done before," according to the Australian Defence Minister, who made this statement just before landing in India.

Concerns about the Solomon Islands-China security deal, its lack of transparency, and its consequences for enduring regional security and stability have also been voiced by Canberra and Tokyo.

India has also argued in favor of a world governed by laws, stressing the significance of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in regions like the South China Sea. Security and Growth for Everyone in the Region (SAGAR) is the foundation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's policy for the Indo-Pacific.

On Wednesday, Singh and Marles expressed their appreciation for the two nations' defense exchanges and exercises, which are becoming more varied and frequent. They also committed to enhancing operational engagements under the India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement.

According to the Indian Defense Ministry, the two ministers discussed future Indian participation in Australia's Indo-Pacific Endeavour exercise in October 2022 as well as current defense cooperation initiatives that have been growing despite the obstacles of the Covid-19 epidemic.

Thirdly, the historic General Rawat Young Officer Exchange Program, which was launched on March 21 at the two countries' virtual summit conference, was addressed by both ministers. The program will begin in the second half of 2022. Both sides' professional military relationships will be considerably improved by the initiative, which will also make it easier to share opinions and operational insights.