Up­grad­ing In­dia-Aus­tralia ties

SP's MAI - - FRONT PAGE - LT GEN­ERAL P.C. KA­TOCH (RETD)

Both coun­tries de­cided to es­tab­lish a Frame­work for Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion to re­flect the deep­en­ing and ex­pand­ing se­cu­rity and de­fence en­gage­ment be­tween In­dia and Aus­tralia, and to in­ten­sify co­op­er­a­tion and con­sul­ta­tion be­tween Aus­tralia and In­dia in ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est.

While Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi was still in Aus­tralia, Ju­dith Ire­land, na­tional po­lit­i­cal re­porter, wrote in Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, how Prime Min­is­ter Modi turned the Aus­tralian Par­lia­ment into a rock star’s stage. She writes of one get­ting the sense there was some­thing about Modi when world lead­ers had their of­fi­cial hand­shakes with Tony Ab­bott at the G-20 Sum­mit. While other lead­ers of­fered brief hand­shakes and stiff smiles, In­dia’s Prime Min­is­ter strode out of the wings to greet his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part with an ex­u­ber­ant

hug. She goes on to say that when Modi be­gan to ad­dress the Par­lia­ment, we knew for sure there was some­thing about the In­dian Prime Min­is­ter. It wasn’t just that he ac­knowl­edged In­dige­nous Aus­tralians when Ab­bott did not. Be­sides it was not that Modi spoke with­out a script but more im­por­tantly the con­tent of what he spoke that hyp­no­tised the nor­mally rowdy House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Amongst other things, he spoke of: 800 mil­lion In­di­ans un­der the age of 35, will­ing to work for change; young In­di­ans want­ing en­ergy, smart ci­ties and vil­lages that of­fer op­por­tu­nity, and; In­dia as the an­swer to Aus­tralian quest for new eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties as source for world-class skills at home or as man­u­fac­tur­ing lo­ca­tion abroad. As Prime Min­is­ter Modi con­cluded his ad­dress, the cham­ber rose in a stand­ing ova­tion. Re­fer­ring to the Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans, Ju­dith writes, “They were not just be­ing po­lite. If Madam Speaker had let them, they would have whis­tled, whooped and charged the stage. That’s what you do when you see a rock star per­form.”

The fact is that Prime Min­is­ter Modi has dis­played that rare abil­ity to es­tab­lish the psy­cho­log­i­cal con­nec­tion wher­ever ad­dress­ing or meet­ing di­verse au­di­ences and peo­ple whether at home or abroad, and this he dis­played once again in Aus­tralia – whether ad­dress­ing the Aus­tralian Par­lia­ment, Univer­si­ties, BRICS fo­rum, G-20, in­dus­try and business, In­dian di­as­pora, meet­ing world lead­ers and oth­ers. His ad­dress to G-20 was well applauded and con­sented at large par­tic­u­larly with re­gard to co­op­er­a­tion in re­ver­sion of black money that also a se­cu­rity risk plus the need to push for global growth. While Aus­tralian Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott and Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi were ob­served ad­dress­ing each other on first name ba­sis, the per­sonal warmth that both shared dur­ing the lat­ter’s Aus­tralia visit, the first by an In­dian Prime Min­is­ter in 28 years, was also re­flected when Ab­bott said at the re­cep­tion he hosted at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground, that Modi is like a “brother.”

The hall­mark of Prime Min­is­ter Modi’s Aus­tralia visit was the two Pre­miers reaf­firm­ing that the Indo-Aus­tralia Strate­gic Part­ner­ship is based on con­verg­ing po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and strate­gic in­ter­ests; a shared de­sire to pro­mote re­gional and global peace, se­cu­rity and pros­per­ity; and a com­mit­ment to democ­racy, free­dom, hu­man rights, and the rule of law. Both coun­tries de­cided to es­tab­lish a Frame­work for Se­cu­rity Co­op­er­a­tion to re­flect the deep­en­ing and ex­pand­ing se­cu­rity and de­fence en­gage­ment be­tween In­dia and Aus­tralia, and to in­ten­sify co­op­er­a­tion and con­sul­ta­tion be­tween Aus­tralia and In­dia in ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est. This frame­work is to be im­ple­mented in ac­cor­dance with an Ac­tion Plan agreed mu­tu­ally that in­cludes the seven spheres of: An­nual Sum­mit and For­eign Pol­icy Ex­changes and Co­or­di­na­tion; De­fence pol­icy plan­ning and co­or­di­na­tion; Coun­tert­er­ror­ism (CT) and other Transna­tional Crimes; Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Coast Guard, and Cus­toms; Dis­ar­ma­ment, Non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, Civil Nu­clear En­ergy and Mar­itime Se­cu­rity; Dis­as­ter man­age­ment and peace­keep­ing, and; Co­op­er­a­tion in Re­gional and Mul­ti­lat­eral Fora.

The An­nual Sum­mit and For­eign Pol­icy Ex­changes and Co­or­di­na­tion is to in­clude: An­nual meet­ing of Prime Min­is­ters in­clud­ing in the mar­gins of mul­ti­lat­eral meet­ings; For­eign Min­is­ters’ Frame­work Di­a­logue; Se­nior Of­fi­cials’ Talks led by In­dia’s Sec­re­tary (East) in MEA and Sec­re­tary of Aus­tralia’s Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade; East Asia Talks be­tween Ex­ter­nal/For­eign Af­fairs se­nior of­fi­cials, and; 1.5 Track Aus­tralia-In­dia Di­a­logue. The De­fence pol­icy plan­ning and co­or­di­na­tion will in­clude: Reg­u­lar De­fence Min­is­ters’

The strate­gic na­ture of this bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship is im­por­tant with the new Great Game un­fold­ing in re­gion, which is in­di­cated with China es­tab­lish­ing 18 naval bases in the In­dian Ocean re­gion and US move to add Aus­tralia to the US-Ja­pan-In­dia Tri­a­logue.

Meet­ing; An­nual De­fence Pol­icy Talks; An­nual 1.5 Track De­fence Strate­gic Di­a­logue; Ser­vice to Ser­vice en­gage­ment in­clud­ing reg­u­lar high-level vis­its, an­nual staff talks, joint train­ing and reg­u­lar ex­er­cises as agreed; reg­u­lar bi­lat­eral mar­itime ex­er­cises, and ex­plore de­fence R&D co­op­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing through vis­its by Aus­tralian and In­dian de­fence ma­te­rial del­e­ga­tions and ef­forts to foster joint in­dus­try links. CT and other Transna­tional Crimes will en­com­pass: An­nual JWG on CT and other Transna­tional Crimes; co­op­er­a­tion in CT train­ing and ex­changes be­tween ex­perts on coun­ter­ing IEDs, bomb in­ci­dents and tech­nolo­gies; ex­changes on counter-rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion; co­op­er­a­tion be­tween po­lice on in­ves­ti­ga­tion of transna­tional crime; co­op­er­a­tion on ex­tra­di­tion and mu­tual le­gal as­sis­tance re­quests; co­op­er­a­tion be­tween AUSTRAC and Fi­nan­cial In­tel­li­gence Unit-In­dia; ex­changes on cy­ber pol­icy and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween CERT In­dia and CERT Aus­tralia, and; co­op­er­a­tion in com­bat­ing il­le­gal mi­gra­tion. Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, Coast Guard, and Cus­toms is to in­clude; an­nual meet­ings of the JWG on Visas, Pass­ports and Con­sular Mat­ters; ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the In­dian Coast Guard and Aus­tralian bor­der pro­tec­tion au­thor­i­ties, and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Cus­toms au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing train­ing. Dis­ar­ma­ment, Non-pro­lif­er­a­tion, Civil Nu­clear En­ergy and Mar­itime Se­cu­rity would en­com­pass: an­nual bi­lat­eral di­a­logue on Dis­ar­ma­ment, Non-Pro­lif­er­a­tion and In­ter­na­tional Se­cu­rity, in­clud­ing mar­itime se­cu­rity; Aus­tralian support for In­dian mem­ber­ship of the ex­port con­trol regimes; early op­er­a­tional­i­sa­tion of civil nu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion and Aus­tralia’s support for strength­en­ing In­dia’s en­ergy se­cu­rity by sup­ply of ura­nium for In­dia’s safe­guarded nu­clear re­ac­tors; co­op­er­a­tion be­tween agen­cies en­gaged on in­ter­na­tional search and res­cue, in­clud­ing through in­for­ma­tion ex­change and re­gional di­a­logue, and; co­op­er­a­tion on th­ese is­sues in rel­e­vant in­ter­na­tional fora, in­clud­ing the Ex­panded ASEAN Mar­itime Fo­rum.

Dis­as­ter man­age­ment and peace­keep­ing is to cover: ex­change on ap­proaches to hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance and dis­as­ter re­lief; col­lab­o­ra­tion in the East Asia Sum­mit on dis­as­ter man­age­ment, and; co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes on peace­keep­ing is­sues, in­clud­ing be­tween peace­keep­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

Co­op­er­a­tion in Re­gional and Mul­ti­lat­eral For a is to cover: close co­op­er­a­tion in re­gional and mul­ti­lat­eral fora, in­clud­ing the East Asia Sum­mit, ASEAN Re­gional Fo­rum (ARF), ASEAN De­fence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing Plus (ADMM+), the In­dian Ocean Rim As­so­ci­a­tion, In­dian Ocean Naval Sym­po­sium, the UN and its spe­cialised agen­cies, and the G-20, and support for In­dia’s bid to be a per­ma­nent mem­ber of the UNSC. Progress un­der the Ac­tion Plan is to be re­viewed through es­tab­lished in­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ments, in­clud­ing the For­eign Min­is­ters’ Frame­work Di­a­logue and the De­fence Min­is­ters’ Meet­ing.

To say that a new era has dawned in Indo-Aus­tralian re­la­tion­ship would be stat­ing the very ob­vi­ous. In fact, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi said so in as many words dur­ing the re­cep­tion hosted for him at the Mel­bourne Cricket Ground. It may be noted that both the Frame­work and the Ac­tion Plan dis­cussed above are com­pre­hen­sive. The strate­gic na­ture of this bi­lat­eral re­la­tion­ship is im­por­tant with the new Great Game un­fold­ing in re­gion, which is in­di­cated with China es­tab­lish­ing 18 naval bases in the IOR in­clud­ing Sri Lanka and Sey­chelles, and US move to add Aus­tralia to the USJa­pan-In­dia Tri­a­logue. Prime Min­is­ter Modi has in­vited Prime Min­siter Tony Ab­bott to In­dia next year. That will per­haps be the time the nu­clear en­ergy co­op­er­a­tion deal will get op­er­a­tionalised.

Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi be­ing greeted by the Prime Min­is­ter of Aus­tralia Tony Ab­bott at the open­ing cer­e­mony of the

G-20 Sum­mit, in Bris­bane, Aus­tralia, on Novem­ber 15, 2014

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