Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today met with India’s Minister for Defence, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, in New Delhi, India.
Minister Pyne is in New Delhi to attend the Raisina Dialogue, India’s flagship foreign and strategic policy conference which brings together senior officials from across the world to discuss issues of global significance.
Visiting India for the first time as Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, Minister Pyne reflected on progress in the Australia-India bilateral defence relationship.
“India is a significant security partner for Australia in the Indian Ocean and the broader Indo-Pacific region. This is reflected in the progress we have made in our bilateral defence relationship since the endorsement of the Framework for Security Cooperation in 2014.
“Our shared interests include maritime security, regional stability and countering terrorism.
“Australia recognises India’s increased engagement in the South East Asia region through the implementation of the Modi Government’s ‘Act East’ policy.
“India is making a significant investment in the capability of its defence forces and seeking to build its industrial base.
“This presents terrific export opportunities for Australian defence companies, such as Thales Australia, who are currently bidding to supply mine sweeping equipment to India that was developed in Australia, as well as F90 rifles to the Indian Army. If successful, and subject to export control requirements, this will lead to the creation of jobs at Thales Rydalmere and Lithgow,” Minister Pyne said.
“Likewise, the Australian Government is investing $200 billion to modernise Australia’s defence capability while strengthening our defence industry over the next decade,” Minister Pyne said.
Minister Pyne noted the importance of the new Joint Working Group on Defence Research and Materiel Cooperation in progressing cooperation between India and Australia’s respective defence industries.
“Such cooperation represents an opportunity for India and Australia to identify opportunities for defence industry, science and materiel engagement,” he said.
Minister Pyne will also address India’s National Defence College while in India.