India and Australia will get to access each other’s military bases for logistics support, in a new pact signed during a virtual summit held by the leaders of the two countries on Thursday.
The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) was inked by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison. It allows military ships and aircraft to refuel and access maintenance facilities at each other’s bases. India already has similar agreements with the United States, France and Singapore.
“Both sides agreed to continue to deepen and broaden defense cooperation by enhancing the scope and complexity of their military exercises and engagement activities to develop new ways to address shared security challenges. Both sides agreed to increase military inter-operability through defense exercises through their Arrangement concerning Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA),” the leaders said in a joint statement.
Implementing Arrangement concerning cooperation in Defense Science and Technology to the MoU on Defense Cooperation, to provide a framework for growing collaboration between the defense research organisations of both countries, was also signed.
The two countries have reached an understanding on enhancing cooperation between their navies and strengthen maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region.
“India and Australia are also committed to supporting a rules-based maritime order that is based on respect for sovereignty and international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” the joint statement read.
The countries will continue to work with the East Asia Summit (EAS) and other ASEAN-led institutions; the ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM Plus), Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).