Indo-Pacific Region Current Affairs - 2020

India-Australia sign landmark Defence Agreements

On June 4, 2020, Indian PM Modi and the Australian PM Scott Morrison held India’s first virtual bilateral summit. The leaders signed several agreements during their meet and also discussed about the COVID-19 measures being implemented in their respective countries.

Highlights

India and Australia signed the following agreements namely

  • Framework Arrangement on Cyber Enabled critical Technology
  • MoU on cooperation in processing of Critical and Strategic minerals
  • Implementing arrangement related to cooperation in Defence
  • MoU on cooperation of training and vocational education
  • MoU on understanding water resource management
  • MoU un the field of Governance Reforms and Public Administration
  • MoU on cooperation in mining and processing of strategic minerals.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement signed will allow the countries to have access to each other’s military bases. The countries also decided to enhance their 2+2 foreign affairs and defence dialogues.

Background

The countries signed a framework of security cooperation in November 2014. This had laid the foundation for intensified defence, security and foreign policy exchanges between the countries. The countries also share a free open and prosperous Indo Pacific region. Australia supported for India’s non-permanent membership in the United Nations Security Council. Also, Australia backs India at the global initiatives such as Indo-Pacific and International Solar Alliance. Australia had also supported India for the membership of the later at the Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group. Also, Australia supports India for its membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

India to hold first ever virtual bilateral summit with Australia

On June 4, 2020, PM Modi will hold a virtual bilateral summit with the Australian PM Scott Morrison. This is the first ever virtual bilateral summit to be held by India.

Highlights

The leaders are to discuss a broad framework on the relation of India and Australia. The leaders will also sign several agreements. The major agreement is the one to be signed on mutual sharing of military logistics facilities. The agreement will help increase the bandwidth of operation of both the Australian and Indian forces in the Indo Pacific region.

The leaders will also discuss boosting science and technology, COVID-19 crisis, cybersecurity, maritime issues in the Indo Pacific Region and also about other critical technologies.

The leaders will also share how their respective countries are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Australia has held similar summit with Singapore earlier.

India-Australia

India and Australia held their first bilateral naval exercise in 2015. The exercise was called AUSINDEX. Also, the countries hold bilateral army exercises called AUSTRAHIND.

India is to become a non-permanent member at the United Nations Security Council. Australia has backed India becoming a member at the UNSC. Australis also supported the United Nations Resolution to declare Azhar Masood a global terrorist.