Australian Defence Minister to visit India

New Delhi, Aug.31 : Australian Defence Minister Kevin Andrews will undertake a visit of India later this week.

In a statement issued ahead of his visit, Andrews said the trip is being undertaken to advance defence cooperation further between the two countries.

Describing India as an emerging democratic super power of Asia, Andrews said, “Our shared history, coupled with our shared democratic values and a strong interest in a secure Indo-Pacific region, provides us with a firm foundation upon which we can confidently pursue future engagement activities in support of our joint interests. I look forward to identifying a range of new ideas to increase our existing defence cooperation at this year’s talks.”

He said that this first meeting between defence ministers of the two nations following the release of the Framework for Security Cooperation by Prime Minister Abbott and Prime Minister Modi in November 2014, would be viewed as an important dialogue and an opportunity to set the direction of bilateral defence engagement in line with the expectations of the framework.

“Our inaugural bilateral maritime exercise with the Indian Navy, AUSINDEX, is scheduled to occur later this month and will include participation by various naval and air force platforms. It is a strong signal of both countries’ commitment to building defence relations. I will also address one of India’s preeminent think tanks, the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, on our relationship with India and Australia’s defence policies more broadly,” Andrews said.

Australia and India, he said, would need to take on the challenge of converting a warm friendship into a more meaningful one for both as well as for the wider world. (ANI)