India and Australia Sign Strategic Cooperation Agreement

June 7, 2020 Updated: June 7, 2020

Australia and India have agreed to a new partnership that pledges closer cooperation between the two countries in the fields of science and technology, and defence and maritime security.

Attending a virtual summit on June 4, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India and Australia had established the Australian-Indian Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Speaking at the summit, India’s prime minister said India and Australia relations are deep and that the two countries had a duty “to uphold and protect values for global good like democracy, rule of law, freedom, mutual respect, regard for international institutions and transparency.”

Responding, Morrison said that he believed Australia and India share a “vision for an open, free, rules-based multilateral system in our region.”

“In a time like this, we want to deal very much with friends and trusted partners, and this is a partnership which has stood the test time and again and is during the course of this current crisis,” said Morrison.

The Indo-Australian Defence Cooperation

The strategic partnership’s foremost collaboration will be in the area of defence allowing India and Australia to boost its military readiness against outside forces and develop new defence based technology.

Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said in a media release on June 4 that India and Australia have a keen interest in a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

“We now have a solid framework for Indian and Australian defence organisations to enhance our research collaboration and develop defence capabilities that help maintain our technological edge in this era of rapid change and increasing threats,” Reynolds said.

Cyber and Maritime Co-operation

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne announced on June 4 that as part of a new relationship Australia and India will develop a four year $12.7 million cyber and critical technology partnership.

According to Payne, the focus of the partnership will be the development of digital trade, cyber-security, and critical technologies.

“Critical technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and robotics present significant opportunities for people, businesses and the broader economy,” said Payne.

Payne noted, however, that they must be guided by international standards to ensure they do not present risks to any country.

Consequently, India and Australia will build a research and development fund for Indian and Australian businesses and researchers, and other countries to improve their cyber resilience.

Concurrent with this Payne also announced on June 4 that Australia and India had signed a comprehensive maritime declaration that will enable the two countries to increase their regional presence in the Indo-Pacific.

Intended to support the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative the cooperation will also combat transnational challenges in the region and deepen ties between India and Australia’s navy, coastguard, and civil maritime agencies.