Australia and India signing new defence arrangements, Radio interview, SBS News

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

Media contact

Nicky Hamer (Minister Reynolds’ Office): +61 437 989 927

Defence Media:

Release content

4 June 2020

***Check against delivery***

Minister, tell us how important was the summit with India’s Prime Minister?

It was very important on a number of levels and in times of uncertainty, particularly at the moment, it’s important that the business of government between friends and partners continue and so I think that’s why holding this ground breaking summit at such an unprecedented time was so important. It was wonderful to see that Australia and India are both committed to maintaining momentum in our bilateral relationship that has been going from strength to strength.

Australia’s relationship with India has now been elevated to confidence in strategic partnership – what does this mean in layman’s terms?

It’s a very important new partnership because the CSP reflects India’s growing importance as one of Australia’s closest partners in our region, in the Indo-Pacific, and the CSP commits us to work together as nations in 10 really important areas. This includes my portfolio of Defence. India, as one of our most important partners, we’ve committed to a range of new initiatives with India on things that are of mutual importance. Things like cyber, maritime security, science, infrastructure, trade and education and particularly at the moment with COVID-19 impacting on the globes economy, looking for new opportunities for us to work together to strengthen both of our economies is very important.

Talking about your portfolio, what are the two defence arrangements between Australia and India today?

Well one of the most exciting aspects for me was the conclusion of these two new Defence agreements between Australia and India. We’ve signed two new arrangements; the first one is called a Mutual Logistics Support arrangement which really means that it’s now making it possible for India and Australia to have deeper and more sophisticated operational cooperation between our Defence Forces.

So what it will do is it will, what we call in the military, it will enhance military interoperability which means that we are able to work more closely together. It will also enable us to do increasingly large and more complex military engagements in our region, and it will also enable us to work more responsively and more together on regional humanitarian disasters.

So that’s the first Defence arrangement. The second is a Defence Science and Technology agreement between our two nations which will make it easier to collaborate between the Australian and Indian Defence Science and Technology research organisations, both of which are making really important contributions to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. So this arrangement will allow us to work more closely and to collaborate, not just on COVID-19 but other things that both our Defence Science and Technology agencies do so well.

The Chief Minister spoke about the Australia-India relationship yesterday, the Agricultural Minister a few weeks ago announced that Australia will export barley and fruits to India, you spoke to your Indian counterpart a week ago and now this announcement – are we witnessing a significant shift towards India? Has India become more important to Australia?

I wouldn’t say it’s become more important but Australia has shifted its focus to other like-minded nations, and clearly India and Australia are both like-minded democracies and we both share a really deep commitment to a more secure, open and inclusive, and also a prosperous Indo-Pacific. So we are natural partners and I think that it is very encouraging that we are both looking towards each other, towards deepening our relationships across so many areas.

Many experts are saying the CSP will help Australia counter China’s influence, do you agree?

This comprehensive strategic partnership that our Prime Ministers have agreed to and signed today is not about one nation. It is about our bilateral relationship and the ways that we can work together as like-minded democracies and countries who share very similar values on the rule of law, to work together in new ways. 

Other related releases