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Narendra Modi: India, Australia Seal Agreement to Use Each Other’s Military Bases for Logistical Support | India News

NEW DELHI: India and Australia signed seven agreements Thursday, including a landmark pact on access to military bases for logistical support, after the first virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
A comprehensive reform process has begun that covers almost all areas in India as it sees the coronavirus crisis as an “opportunity,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday at the summit in line with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
The deal allows military ships and aircraft to refuel and access maintenance facilities, and is widely seen as part of a broader strategy by democracies in the region to counter China’s military and economic weight.
India has a similar pact with the United States, which is seen as part of a broader security cooperation to balance China’s growing economic and military weight in the region.
Although China is the largest buyer of Australia’s exports, there have recently been trade frictions between the two. And Australia also increased China’s troubles by pressing for an international review of the origins and spread of the new coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.
In his opening remarks, Modi also proposed a coordinated and collaborative approach to get out of the adverse economic and social impact of the epidemic that has infected around 65 lakh people and killed 3.88 lakh worldwide.
Referring to the virtual summit, the Prime Minister called it “a new India-Australia partnership model, a new business model.” It was the first time that Modi held a “bilateral” virtual summit with a foreign leader.
The Prime Minister described his conversations with Morrison as “an outstanding discussion”, encompassing the full extent of ties between the two strategic partners.
“Our government has decided to view this crisis as an opportunity. In India, a process of comprehensive reforms has begun in almost all areas. It will soon see results at ground level,” said the prime minister. Modi also conveyed his thanks to Morrison for taking care of the Indian community in Australia, especially the students, during the “difficult time”.
The overall focus of the talks focused on further bilateral engagement in a wide range of areas such as healthcare, trade and defense.
In his comments, Morrison complemented Modi for his “constructive and very positive” role, including the role of the G-20 in driving a concerted global approach to address the coronavirus crisis.
Modi said he believed it is the “perfect time and the perfect opportunity” to further strengthen the relationship between India and Australia.
“We have immense possibilities to strengthen our friendship,” said Modi, adding: “How our relationships become a ‘factor of stability’ for our region and for the world, how we work together for the global good, all these aspects must be considered.”
The prime minister said that India was committed to expanding its relations with Australia at a broader and faster pace, noting that it is important not only for the two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world.
“The role of our comprehensive strategic partnership will be more important in this period of global epidemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to get out of the economic and social side effects of this epidemic,” he said.
The relationship between the two nations was improved to a “Strategic Partnership” level in 2009. Since then, the two countries have expanded their cooperation in a range of key areas.
In its White Paper on Foreign Policy in 2017, Australia recognized India as the “pre-eminent sea power among the countries of the Indian Ocean” and a “front-line partner of Australia”.
Bilateral economic commitment has also been on the rise in recent years. According to official data, trade between the two countries was around $ 21 billion in 2018-19.
Australia’s cumulative investment in India is approximately $ 10.74 billion, while India’s total investment in Australia is $ 10.45 billion. Australian Super Pension Fund has invested $ 1 billion in the National Infrastructure and Investment Fund of India.
In recent years, both countries have focused on expanding maritime cooperation.
India and Australia began their first bilateral ‘AUSINDEX’ naval exercise in 2015, which focused on deepening maritime defense and cooperation, especially in the Indian Ocean.
The third edition of AUSINDEX-2019 was held in the Bay of Bengal in April 2019.
Australia has supported India’s position on cross-border terrorism and has called on Pakistan to take significant action against terrorist groups operating from its territory.
Australia also co-sponsored the UNSC resolution to declare Azhar Masood a global terrorist.
Watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds virtual summit with Australian counterpart Scott Morrison

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