The first-ever virtual summit between India and Australia was held on Thursday during which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart Scott Morrisson agreed to elevate ties between the two countries to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”. Relationship between the two nations was upgraded to a ‘Strategic Partnership’ level in 2009.
The two sides also agreed to upgrade their 2+2 foreign affairs and defence dialogue to the ministerial level.
Emphasising the significance of the maritime cooperation between the two sides, PM Modi and Scott Mossisson unveiled a “shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo- Pacific”.
It is the first time that Modi held a “bilateral” virtual summit with a foreign leader. In his opening remarks, PM Modi said that India-Australia relationship is important not for the two countries but for the Indo-Pacific region and the entire world.
“India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia at a wider and faster pace. This is important not only for our two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world,” PM Modi said.
The Australian Prime Minister, on his part, said the comprehensive strategic partnership forged by the two sides will take them “to a whole new level of relationship”.
“It will continue to build the trust because we want commercial and trading relationships that are built on trust,” he said.
Talking about the maritime cooperation between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific, Scott Morrisson said: “We share an ocean and we share responsibilities for that ocean as well – its health, well-being [and] security and the relationship we’re forming around those issues in our maritime domain is the platform for so many other things between our countries.”
Commending India for taking up leadership position in the World Health Organisation (WHO) executive board, Scott Morrisson said: “I commend India on its leadership on taking Chair of WHO’s executive board. This is a very important time to be chairing that board & I have no doubt that India’s leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area.”
He also commended India for its leadership position in the World Health Organisation (WHO) executive board.
“I commend India on its leadership on taking Chair of WHO’s executive board. This is a very important time to be chairing that board & I have no doubt that India’s leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area,” Scott Morrison said.
On a lighter note, Scott Morrisson said that he wished he could be in India in person for the famous ‘Modi hug’, samosas, and Gujarati Khichdi.
During this virtual summit, the two sides signed the all-important Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) that will make it easy for the warships and fighter jets of the two countries to fuel, pick up supplies from each other’s military bases.
The two sides signed seven agreements in different areas ranging from defence to rare earth minerals.