External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, on Tuesday, held talks with visiting Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, focusing on further strengthening the strategic ties to effectively address contemporary challenges. Marles has been on a four-day visit to India since Monday.
"Delighted to meet Deputy PM & Defence Minister @RichardMarlesMP of Australia. Agreed on the importance of strengthening our Strategic Partnership to effectively address contemporary challenges," Jaishankar tweeted. On his part, Marles, who is also Australia's defense minister, described the discussions as "productive".
"Wonderful to meet India's External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar... A great friend of Australia. A productive discussion across the gamut of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including a shared commitment to building together a stronger & resilient #IndoPacific," he tweeted. It is the first high-level visit to India from Australia after Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's center-left Labor Party came to power last month defeating predecessor Scott Morrison's conservative coalition in the parliamentary elections.
The ties between India and Australia have been on an upswing in the last few years. In April, the two countries inked a trade pact to diversify bilateral trade. In June 2020, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support.
The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows the militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defense cooperation. The Australian Navy was part of the Malabar naval exercise hosted by India in November 2020 as well as last year.