On Thursday, in a significant development, officials from India and Australia said, the two countries are set to seal a military logistics pact during an online summit between Indian Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison.
The pact lays the ground work for a greater military exchange and exercises, said officials.
The agreement will enable both countries to tap military bases of one another. The strategic pact is similar to the one India has struck with the United States and part of a broader geo-economic strategy in the region.
The development comes in the wake of Chinese incursions in the Indian state of Sikkim where Indian soldiers are pushing them back. Beijing also enjoys a huge trade surplus with India. Australia is also witnessing more trade frictions with China among a growing demand to ascertain the origin of the coronavirus which emerged in Wuhan, China.
“This is the first time that Prime Minister Modi will be holding a “Bilateral Virtual Summit”, this signifies the strengthening of ties with Australia and its upward trajectory,” said Indian foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava.
Under the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement, military ships and aircraft can refuel and access maintenance facilities at one another’s bases, said an official.
Furthermore, India could also participate in the annual naval exercises wherein the navies of the United States and Japan conduct joint exercises in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.
The accord marks the cementing of security ties between the four countries, said military officials.