Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has called India a “top-tier security partner” for Australia. He said that his visit to India reflects his government’s commitment to place India at the heart of Australia’s approach to both the Pacific and beyond.
He remarked after boarding India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, in Mumbai.
“For Australia, India is a top-tier security partner. The Indian Ocean is central to both countries’ security and prosperity.
And there has never been a point in our country’s history where we’ve had such a strong strategic alignment which has been reinforced by my current visit to India and will be reinforced further by Prime Minister Modi’s attendance at the Quad leaders meeting,”PM Albanese said.
PM Albanese further added, “In a short period of time, we both depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific for our trade and for our economic well-being. And we share an unwavering commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring the Indo-Pacific is open, inclusive and prosperous.”
PM sat inside the fighter jet while officers of the Indian Navy shared details regarding INS Vikrant. He also announced that Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time.
He further said that India will also participate in Australia’s ‘Talisman Sabre’ exercise for the first time in August. He called it a “great privilege” to welcome Indian Navy to Australia in August.
“I am pleased to announce formally aboard the magnificent INS Vikrant that later this year Australia will host ‘Exercise Malabar’ for the very first time,”PM Albanese said.
PM Albanese was all praise for his ‘friend’ Modi (Indian Prime Minister) for his foresight.
“I’m very honoured to be here today on the newly commissioned Indian-designed and manufactured INS Vikrant, my visit reflects my government’s commitment to place India at the heart of Australia’s approach to India both Pacific and beyond. Whilst here, I have had the great pleasure of meeting with the talented and highly professional men and women of India’s Navy. what lifts defence relationships to new levels is the resolve and foresight of those who see the relationship not just for what it is, but for what it could be. One such person is my friend, Prime Minister Modi,” PM Albanese said while interacting with media persons after boarding INS Vikrant.
In his remarks, the Australian PM thanked PM Modi for his “dedication to driving forward our defence and security partnership which is of increasing strategic importance as we navigate the challenges of our region together.”
He noted that both nations share an unwavering commitment to rules-based international order.
“For the first time in November, we conducted complex and sophisticated exercises in Indo-Pacific endeavour and Exercise Ostrahund. This was capped off by Exercise Malabar where we bolstered our military interoperability with India alongside close partners Japan and the United States,”PM Albanese said.
“More important than these statistics is the sheer complexity and high-end nature of our military engagements which is unprecedented. I predict that 2023 will be busier than ever for our defence cooperation,” he added.
Albanese also spoke about the inaugural Australia-India General Rawat Defence Officer Exchange Program which is currently taking place in India.
“This pioneering exchange program created by Prime Minister Modi will ensure our defence personnel develop the familiarity and trust that underpins a close and long-lasting relationship.”
His visit to INS Vikrant marks the celebration of 75 years of friendship between India and Australia.