I leave Australia today for India where I will visit New Delhi and Mumbai.
This will be my fourth visit to India as a Minister in the Australian Government but my first visit as Minister for Defence.
In New Delhi, I will conduct the Defence Ministers’ Dialogue with India’s Defence Minister A K Antony. The Defence Ministers’ Dialogue will involve discussions on shared strategic and security interests, including maritime security, cooperation in the Indian Ocean, and regional security.
I will discuss opportunities to expand defence cooperation activities that build on the 2009 Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation. Under the Declaration, Australia and India affirmed our shared desire to promote regional and global security, as well as our common commitment to democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
Australia is committed to deepening bilateral relations with India, and strengthening defence and security cooperation.
Australia is a member the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS), an initiative of the Indian Navy. Australia will host the IONS Conclave of Chiefs in Perth in 2014.
India is the current Chair and Australia the Vice Chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC). We are jointly leading efforts to further develop the regional security architecture of the Indian Ocean, with a particular focus on maritime security.
In Mumbai, I will visit the Western Naval Command and the Victoria Dockyard. I will address the Asia Society India Centre on building the Strategic Partnership between Australia and India.
Mr Smith’s Office: (02) 6277 7800
Departmental: (02) 6127 1999