India and Australia have progressed interstate relations after signing a bundle of military agreements through virtual summit on Thursday. Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison employed two bilateral pacts for the “deepening of the defense relationship” between the nations as tensions increase in the Indo-Pacific region. One of the pacts is a Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement, which will allow each state’s military ships and aircraft to refuel and access maintenance facilities at each other’s military bases. The other bilateral pact is known as the Defense Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement.
The leaders share a vision to implement free and inclusive maritime rules in the Indo-Pacific region to effect peaceful and cooperative use of the seas. The agreements come amid growing concerns in regard to China’s escalating military influence in the region. They continue to bolster their position on a number of disputed islands in the South China Sea that lies within the Indo-Pacific.
According to Al Jazeera, the Indian Foreign Ministry has declared the Mutual Logistics Agreement to be a pact “clearing the way for more military exchanges and exercises in the Indo-Pacific.” Australian Prime Minister has also praised India as a “pioneer in technology.” The repercussions of the agreements will have an impact in numerous sectors; beneficial for both domestic security and international relations. In the Economic Times, Prime Minister Modi confirms the states’ “shared values, shared interests, shared geography and shared objectives… [have] become a factor of stability” on a regional and global scale. It is these kinds of relations that role model how globalization should be utilized.
After several months of combating the COVID-19 pandemic, many states are looking to resurface their economies and bring their people out of hardship. It is unsurprising the international community has consequently suffered a blow at the hands of recent events in health and commerce. However, reconstruction will need time, and more importantly, support. It is crucial that states prioritize humanitarian rights and positive connections in the path to recovery. The agreements between India and Australia build trust that is will not only benefit maritime regulation, but also any form of negotiation in which the two nations partake. This is the most effective way to maintain peace within the international community on a long-term basis. CNN reports Modi’s belief that strengthening ties with Australia is “not only important for our two nations but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the whole world.”
Unfortunately, it is no coincidence the pacts come at a time where India and Australia hold rocky relationships with China. India is currently in a standoff with China regarding their Line of Actual Control. The most severe border conflict between the two states in years has seen China occupy the Indian-controlled territory of Ladakh. It is likely this alongside growing concerns about a trading imbalance that has motivated India plan for the importation of specific minerals from Australia. Diversifying their supplies outside of China will send a message to strong message to Beijing. Australia has also been clashing with China over trade and China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Australia’s recent endorsement of investigating the origins of COVID-19 has only angered interstate attitudes.
Whilst the Indian-Australian military agreements symbolize what international relations should look like; the ramifications may extend to larger tensions with China. This is not what should be condoned as the global community starts to think of the future. Every person currently lives in a state of uncertainty and it is important for those governing to be transparent and create good connections with each other. However, the motivations behind any cooperative decision must be questioned where it further aggravates pre-existing tension.
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