Millennium Post

India, Australia to deepen maritime engagement

India and Australia on Wednesday reiterated that maritime security and freedom of navigation in accordance with principles of international law were critical for the growth of the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean regions.

The two countries agreed to enhance maritime cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region bilaterally and multilaterally, at a time when Beijing is making attempts to spread its arc of influence in the Indian Ocean region.

In a joint statement issued after talks between defence minister AK Antony and his Australian counterpart Stephen Smith in Canberra, the two sides agreed to work out the contours of a bilateral maritime exercise in 2015. Antony is the first Indian defence minister to visit Australia.

China has been suspicious of growing strategic relations between India and countries in the Indo-pacific region and it has in the past raised concerns about India roping Australia into bilateral naval exercises with the US.


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