Australian Defense Minister Richard Mars arrived in India on Monday and held a bilateral meeting with Indian counterparts to strengthen defense relations.
In a post on Twitter on Tuesday, Mars praised India as Australia’s “first-class partner” and “best friend.”
“We look forward to promoting continued defense efforts as a comprehensive strategic partner and reiterating our commitment to closer cooperation at #IndoPacific,” he said in a Twitter post.
Arrived in India – Top Partner + Australia’s Best Friend.
I look forward to promoting ongoing defense activities as a comprehensive strategic partner. #IndoPacific.. pic.twitter.com/68bxyCkxyf
— Richard Marles (@RichardMarlesMP) June 20, 2022
Prior to the trip, Mars said his first bilateral meeting with Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh would be “immeasurable” in strengthening relations between the two countries.
“The rule-based international order that has brought peace and prosperity to the Indo-Pacific for decades is experiencing pressure as we face changes in the strategic geopolitical order,” he said. rice field. statement on monday.
“Australia is ready to work closely with India to support the open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.”
Mars’ visit to New Delhi will take place about a week after he participates in defense negotiations in Japan. The move was set against the backdrop of China’s growing military, economic and political influence in the Indo-Pacific, raising concerns from Australia and its quad allies, including India, the United States and Japan.
It also happens when India is struggling to defend the eastern border of Aksai Chin, which China effectively controls.
But despite the chill between the two countries, India, which relies heavily on China for trade, is less vocal about Beijing’s military aggression than its quad partners. Trade between India and China exceeded $ 100 billion for the first time in 2021, reaching $ 125 billion, and increased 15.3% to over $ 31 billion in the first quarter of 2o22.
Quad partners are also reluctant to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine directly and rely on the Kremlin for mass arms imports to prevent China’s expansion at the border. ..
On another trip, Australia’s Interior Minister is meeting with Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Foreign Minister Gamini Peiris.
Claire O’Neill will discuss collaborative measures to tackle cross-border crimes, including smuggling, as a ship heading to Australia over the financial difficulties of Sri Lanka.
O’Neill’s trip took place around the same time Australia announced $ 50 million worth of development assistance for food and health care in Sri Lanka.
AAP contributed to this report.