Today I host India’s Minister of Defence, Mr A K Antony, in Perth before travelling to Canberra for a formal Australia-India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.
This is the first ever official visit to Australia by an Indian Defence Minister.
The 2013 Australian Defence White Paper outlines the profound strategic changes that are occurring as economic, strategic and military weight shifts to our part of the world, the Indo-Pacific region.
India and Australia have a shared interest in helping to address these strategic changes, including through Defence collaboration.
Minister Antony’s historic visit is indicative of the increasing importance and depth of the Australia India bilateral relationship, including Defence-to-Defence and Military-to-Military cooperation.
In 2009, our two Prime Ministers agreed to upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership and issued a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation.
The Joint Declaration provides the framework for our bilateral efforts to effect closer and more regular collaboration on shared security interests.
Our bilateral Defence-to-Defence and Military-to-Military cooperation occurs across a range of activities, including ship visits and professional exchanges.
I look forward to hosting Minister Antony in Perth, Australia’s ‘Indian Ocean capital’.
The city is home to several significant Australian Defence Force establishments, including Australia’s Indian Ocean Naval Base, HMAS Stirling.
While in Perth, Minister Antony and I will lay a wreath at the State War Memorial at Kings Park.
I will also host a reception in Minister Antony’s honour, to be attended by prominent members of Western Australian and Indian academic, business and community organisations.
This evening, Minister Antony and I will travel together to Canberra.
On Wednesday in Canberra we will conduct the Australia-India Defence Ministers’ Dialogue.
It will be the second time that Minister Antony and I have conducted the Dialogue.
Minister Smith's office: Sacha Fenton (02) 6277 7800 or 0467 784 528
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999