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12 Jun 20. China set to complete Beidou network rivalling GPS in global navigation. The Chinese Beidou navigation network will be complete this month when its final satellite goes into orbit, giving China greater independence from U.S.-owned GPS and heating up competition in a sector long dominated by the United States.
The idea to develop Beidou, or the Big Dipper in Chinese, took shape in the 1990s as the military sought to reduce reliance on the Global Positioning System (GPS) run by the U.S. Air Force.
When the first Beidou satellites were launched in 2000, coverage was limited to China. As use of mobile devices expanded, China in 2003 tried to join the Galileo satellite navigation project proposed by the European Union but later pulled out to focus on Beidou.
In the age of the iPhone, the second generation of Beidou satellites went operational in 2012, covering the Asia-Pacific.
China began deploying the third generation of satellites aimed at global coverage in 2015.
The 35th and final Beidou-3 satellite will be launched this month – the day has yet to be announced – meaning Beidou has more satellites in its system than GPS’s 31, and more than Galileo and Russia’s GLONASS.
With estimated investment of $10bn, Beidou keeps the communications network of the Chinese military secure, avoiding the risk of disruption to GPS in the extreme event of conflict.
Weapons targeting and guidance also improves. When complete, Beidou’s location services are accurate down to 10 cm in the Asia-Pacific, compared with GPS’s 30-cm range.
“Beidou was obviously designed a few decades after GPS, so it has had the benefit of learning from the GPS experience,” said Andrew Dempster, director of the Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research.
“It has some signals that have higher bandwidth, giving better accuracy. It has fewer orbit planes for the satellites, making constellation maintenance easier.”
SPACE SILK ROAD
Beidou-related services such as port traffic monitoring and disaster mitigation have been exported to about 120 countries, state media reported.
Many of those countries are involved in the Belt and Road initiative, spearheaded by President Xi Jinping to create a modern-day Silk Road of trade and investment.
In a 2019 report, the U.S. congressional U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission warned that China promoted launch services, satellites and Beidou under its “Space Silk Road” to deepen reliance on China for space-based services, potentially at the expense of U.S. influence.
Thailand and Pakistan were the first foreign countries to sign up for Beidou’s services, in 2013.
Within China, more than 70% of mobile phones were Beidou-enabled as of 2019, state media reported, including models made by Huawei [HWT.UL], Oppo, Xiaomi, Vivo and Samsung.
Millions of taxis, buses and trucks were also able to receive Beidou signals.
China’s satellite navigation sector may top 400bn yuan ($57bn) in value this year, state media said.
Ahead of the Beidou-3 completion, satellite-related shares have soared.
Beijing BDStar Navigation Co, which makes chips that receive Beidou signals, has surged 34.4% this year. Hwa Create leapt 52.3%, outpacing the 7.6% gain in the Shenzhen benchmark. (Source: Reuters)
10 Jun 20. Pakistan’s private industry clashes with government over regulations. The Pakistani government’s restrictions on the defense industry are stifling potential and must go, according to the president of the trade body Pakistan Aerospace Council.
PAeC is a collective of aerospace, defense and high-tech electronics enterprises that aims to internationally raise the profile of Pakistani industry. Its leader, Haroon Qureshi, heads the defense engineering and electronics company East West Infiniti.
In a June 3 post on the PAeC website, Qureshi said Pakistan’s private, high-tech manufacturers have the potential to help establish a more ambitious local aviation industry by acting as suppliers to and manufacturers of components and systems used by Western counterparts. However, this is hampered by government restrictions that demand permission prior to even design work.
Without these restrictions, Qureshi believes the private sector could “leap-frog, especially with electronics of the future.”
Citing the success of private space companies in the United States, Qureshi said if the Pakistani government frees the high-tech private sector to “innovate and do what the private industry thinks is feasible and viable,” those businesses would not use public funds and probably generate income for the government through taxes.
In response to PAeC’s comments, the Ministry of Defence Production told Defense News the government recognizes and actively promotes the importance of “indigenization and cooperation between the private sector and the defense-related industry.” However, it denied there are stifling constraints on the private sector, saying the market meets both domestic and export demand, but because of “international obligations/treaties, especially the measures taken to counter terrorism, certain limitations have to be observed.”
Nevertheless, the ministry added, “measures are under deliberation to further facilitate the private sector in forthcoming defense production policy,” including the creation of a unit for so-called one-window operations — an approach meant to shorten the lengthy bureaucratic process. It also cited recent supplier and vendors exhibitions as well as a defense production seminar to promote cooperation among private businesses.
The government is also preparing a “Defence Offset Policy” to encourage the private sector to absorb the “latest defense and dual-purpose technologies,” the ministry said.
But author, analyst and former Australian defense attache to Islamabad Brian Cloughley said Qureshi’s concern has existed for years, and the government’s regulations are driven by security fears.
“Whenever private industry wants to get involved in any aspect of defense production, the security people and bureaucrats in the defense system roll out objections, based mainly on the possibility of leakage of technical information and thus jeopardy of ‘national security,’ ” he said. “It’s been a real headache, and I continue to be surprised that the private sector has continued its efforts for so long.”
Despite the government’s efforts, Shehzad Ahmed Mir, managing director of the private defense company Bow Systems, remains unconvinced.
“While MoDP lives in a self-pleasing, make-believe cocoon devoid of market realities, similar companies created much later in the West are literally thriving financially and technologically today simply because their respective governments gave them subsidies, export incentives, financial support, etc., compared to our government that drowns their ambitions in [no objection certificates], taxation whirlpools, bureaucratic hurdles, etc.,” he said.
“So by the time — and if at all — MoDP comes out with any good news for the private sector, there won’t be anyone credible around to jubilate on it.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Jun 20. NATO chief seeks to forge deeper ties in China’s neighborhood. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants the alliance to take on a greater political role in world affairs and help nations in the Asia-Pacific region contend with China’s rise.
“Military strength is only part of the answer,” Stoltenberg said Monday in a speech during an online event organized by the Atlantic Council and the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “We also need to use NATO more politically.”
He said alliance member should adopt a more global approach to security issues, unlike the Europe- and North America-centric tack that has often shaped the alliance’s agenda. “This is not about a global presence, but a global approach,” he said.
“As we look to 2030, we need to work even more closely with like-minded countries, like Australia, Japan, New Zealand and [South] Korea, to defend the global rules and institutions that have kept us safe for decades, to set norms and standards in space and cyberspace, on new technologies and global arms control, and ultimately to stand up for a world built on freedom and democracy, not on bullying and coercion.”
Those words are a veiled description of what Western analysts believe is a policy of China blackmailing weaker nations in its orbit through economic and diplomatic pressure. As Stoltenberg put it, Beijing becoming militarily and economically stronger represents a “fundamental shifting” in the global balance of power in which the Western alliance should not be caught flat-footed.
Stoltenberg repeatedly invoked NATO cohesion as an organizing principle for the alliance, imploring members to “resist the temptation of national solutions.”
His comments came as the Trump administration is reportedly considering what critics have called just that: a partial U.S. troop reduction in Germany without consulting allies. The Pentagon previously portrayed its presence in Germany as a testament to America’s commitment to Europe, especially following Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The NATO chief dodged a question on the report, first made public by the Wall Street Journal, instead trumpeting the U.S. military’s deepening involvement in Europe.
Meanwhile, it is hard to evaluate the seriousness of the reported move, especially because U.S. lawmakers and leaders in Berlin were left in the dark.
Some media outlets have speculated that a moment of anger by U.S. President Donald Trump about German Chancellor Angela Merkel prompted the idea, while Reuters cited an unnamed official saying that Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had worked on the issue for months.
Retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, a former commander of U.S. Army troops in Europe, told Defense News he finds it unlikely that senior military officials were onboard.
“I don’t believe that at all,” he said. “No way such a significant decision could be kept under wraps in Washington, D.C., for that long. Based on the conversations I’ve had the last four days, there’s no doubt in my mind that this was a shock to all military leadership in Europe.”
Hodges also criticized Polish officials for being eager to fill a potential void. “I would prefer that our Polish allies focus on the importance of the cohesion of the alliance versus immediately signaling that they’d be happy to host U.S. troops that might move from Germany,” he wrote in an email. “Poland is a great ally. But their security is best when we have a strong, unified alliance that is built around a strong USA-Germany relationship.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Jun 20. The first Royal Australian Air Force F-35A aircraft handed over by manufacturer Lockheed Martin in 2014 has just passed 1,000 flying hours in Arizona, USA.
Aircraft A35-001 is currently being operated by the international Pilot Training Centre (PTC) at Luke Air Force Base (AFB) in the US as part of a pool of training aircraft qualifying international F-35A pilots and maintainers.
Discussing the landmark event, director general Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Air Commodore Damien Keddie said: “A35-001 is one of five Australian aircraft at Luke AFB, with other F-35 partner nations also contributing aircraft to the PTC in a show of global collaboration that has been the cornerstone of the F-35 Programme since the earliest days.”
Project engineering manager Timothy Rafferty commented that the milestone signified the maturity of the platform and associated support systems. “Given A35-001 completed most of its 1000 flying hours at the PTC, this milestone highlights the contribution Australia has made to the collaborative training environment, with more than 1000 F-35 pilots now qualified and flying with their respective services.”
By 5 June, the RAAF had received 26 F-35A aircraft. Five are located at the PTC, 17 are operating at No. 3 Squadron and No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit at RAAF Base Williamtown, while the remaining four aircraft are destined to transit from the US to Australia before August. (Source: Armada)
08 Jun 20. Op-Ed: Japan and Australia – A ‘special strategic partnership’ going from strength to strength.
The Japan-Australia relationship is one that has undergone a profound degree of change over the last decade, and has evolved, with each passing year, in ways that would have seemed inconceivable to many of my predecessors, explains Japanese ambassador to Australia, Takahashi Reiichiro.
Our strategic partnership was forged by the landmark 2007 Joint Declaration on Security Co-operation. Yet who at the time of the signing of the declaration would have anticipated that just over 10 years later, Japan would be referring to Australia in our 2018 National Defence Program Guidelines as second only to our formal ally the United States in terms of its strategic importance to us?
Our partnership builds on the decades-long trading ties, people-to-people exchanges and diplomatic co-operation between us in pursuit of a free, open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region.
Our shared interests and democratic values bind us together. We recognise that our future prosperity lies in the Indo-Pacific. We each have respective alliance partnerships with the United States, which anchors the rules-based order in the region. All this has brought the peoples of both our nations together to the point that we recognise one another as “special strategic partners”.
The unique nature of our strategic relationship is remarkable for such culturally diverse nations as ours, but is a perfect example of the type of co-operation necessary to deal with the challenges that lie ahead.
It will come as no surprise to anyone that the current strategic environment of our region is in a state of flux and that the global power balance appears to be undergoing a period of instability.
Great power competition, a concept that we hoped had been confined to history, has instead made a roaring comeback. In its wake it has upset many of the established norms, most notably the rule of law, that so many of us had thought were immutable.
The Indo-Pacific has long been on a steady path to economic prosperity, but its security environment remains volatile. The economic growth altered the balance of power and brought about a rise in competition for resources and influence amid competing territorial claims.
We have watched with concern the gradual undermining of the rule of law in our region, particularly in the South China Sea. We have witnessed a series of coercive or unilateral actions to change the status quo. These are no longer mere aberrations but have steadily become routine.
In the East China Sea, Japan’s territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands remains indisputable based both on historical facts and international law.
However, Chinese government vessels initially began to intrude into Japan’s territorial sea surrounding the islands in December 2008. This activity has continued to this day, with the clear intention of violating the sovereignty of Japan and attempting to change the status quo through force.
Another prominent security risk to the region is North Korea. North Korea has not taken any concrete steps towards the complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement of its WMD program and ballistic missile programs for all ranges. Instead it continues to conduct missile tests in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
It is precisely because of these developments that regional democracies must stand with and support one another. Fortunately, Japan and Australia have been extraordinarily pro-active in this area.
While we continue to co-operate in our diplomacy to advocate for the rule of law, we have also been engaged in forging a stronger defence relationship. It is a force enabler, both for each other and for our mutual alliance partner the United States, and provides a new equilibrium to prevent the further erosion of the rule of law.
Its overall concept was embraced by Japan and Australia over a decade ago, and since then we have been steadily building a framework that brings us closer together.
For example, last year Japan played host to the first bilateral fighter jet exercise conducted by both nations in the form of Exercise Bushido Guardian in Hokkaido and Aomori prefectures.
During that exercise, Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) F-2s and F-15s as well as Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18s improved their tactical fighting capabilities and enhanced mutual understanding of one another’s operating procedures.
Meanwhile, despite the cancellation of the Japan Self-Defense Forces’ Fleet Review as a result of devastating typhoon “Hagibis” that struck Japan at the time of the review, the Royal Australian Navy sent four ships including an air warfare destroyer and a submarine to participate in the review.
Both navies also conducted Exercise Nichi Gou Trident, as well as participating in the Mine Warfare Exercise in Hyuganada together with the US Navy.
Japan also sent its largest contingent of participants to Exercise Talisman Sabre, which included the first ever deployment of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) vessels to this exercise.
In addition to the presence of JS Ise, the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s (JGSDF) newly formed Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade conducted its first ever beach landings in Australia.
Japan has also been a regular participant in Exercise Southern Jackaroo together with Australian and US forces. It was during this exercise that the JGSDF successfully fired two FH-70 howitzers out to a range of 25 kilometres, a first for the JGSDF in Australia.
While joint exercises between Japan and Australia continue to expand almost daily, since 2017 the defence forces of both countries have also engaged in annual extended activities using multiple vessels throughout the Indo-Pacific.
In the case of the JMSDF, this activity is known as the Indo-Pacific Deployment (IPD), while in the case of the Australian Defence Force it is referred to as Exercise Indo-Pacific Endeavour.
The defence forces of Japan and Australia have been able to deepen their ties with militaries throughout the region using these activities, which provide a platform for both countries to maintain and strengthen a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Moreover, at IPD19 in 2019, the combined navies of Japan, France, Australia and the United States conducted the multilateral air-sea Exercise ‘La Perouse’ in the Indian Ocean to the west of the island of Sumatra, thus demonstrating their strong commitment to the region.
Australia has also been an important part of the UN sanctions enforcement regime against North Korea and has sent frigates and patrol aircraft to participate in enforcement activities since April 2018.
As recently as February, RAAF P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft were conducting patrols from Kadena Air Base to prevent any illicit ship-to-ship transfers of material to and from North Korea.
We have concluded defence-related treaties such as the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement and the Agreement concerning the Transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology.
We are also conducting negotiations in earnest for our Reciprocal Access Agreement, which promises to take Japan-Australian strategic relations to a new level.
This potential was most recently demonstrated during the disaster relief mission to Australia by two JASDF C-130 Hercules transport aircraft in response to Australia’s Black Summer.
This mission was a first for many reasons, not least of which because it marked the first time Japan’s Self-Defense Force had been involved in responding to wildfires abroad.
It was also Japan’s first disaster relief mission to Australia, and was invaluable in providing lessons for our defence force on working with the ADF in unique conditions and demonstrating how best to co-ordinate disaster relief activities.
Despite the pandemic caused by COVID-19, the governments of Japan and Australia have continued to strongly promote co-operation between the defence forces of both countries.
During their telephone conference held on 7 May, defense ministers Kōno Tarō and Linda Reynolds agreed to share the information, practices and knowledge of their respective defence offices responsible for combating the coronavirus and to continue communication between their departments, all with the aim of bringing the pandemic to an early end.
At present, the defence forces of Japan and Australia share both lessons and details on their respective efforts to halt COVID-19 using meetings principally conducted using virtual technology. In doing so, both sides maintain a constant state of readiness while strengthening and promoting Japan-Australia defence co-operation.
The Pacific islands are also a vital region for the development of the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific”, and one to which Australia has actively and earnestly provided support.
At the 8th Pacific Islands Leaders’ Meeting held in 2018 and attended by Australia, Japan declared its deep commitment to the stability and prosperity of this region.
In defence terms, Japan has previously supported the development of the PNG Military Band. However, in the future it plans to offer its assistance in conjunction with Australia and other partner nations to both strengthen and sustainably develop the Pacific islands.
All of this has been made possible through our conversations at all levels of government, including our Annual Leaders’ Talks and the annual 2+2 consultations between our foreign and defence ministers.
In particular, I am pleased to note the good rapport between Prime Minister Abe Shinzo and Prime Minister Scott Morrison. It was in November 2018 that they laid wreaths at the Darwin War Memorial Cenotaph and held their first Annual Leaders’ Meeting.
Since then they have spoken to each other on a number of occasions, including in the margins of international fora such as the East Asia Summit, APEC and the G20.
We have come a long way together and yet we are only just getting started. Our strategic relationship is one facet of a much broader story, but it has become a key part of our future.
Through co-operation and co-ordination with each other and with our allies and partners, I believe we will succeed in preserving the rules-based order and ultimately prevail without creating any losers.
We are partners in the challenges that lie in front of us in this region, and Australia can be assured that Japan has its back. Together with the United States, and through our mutually beneficial relationship with ASEAN and India, we will be a bastion for democracy, the rule of law, and the peace and prosperity of our region.(Source: Defence Connect)
06 Jun 20. Saudi Arabia to keep buying arms despite austerity. Middle East’s biggest arms importer tells executives it will plough ahead with procurement. Saudi Arabia’s vast appetite for western weaponry and defence equipment appears undiminished despite sweeping austerity measures unveiled by the government last month, buoying its US and British suppliers. “I was fully expecting there to be a cut, but the information from very senior levels and princes is ‘no, we’re not going to do it. In fact, don’t come and ask me if your programme is going to slip, keep working hard at it, because we are just carrying ahead,’” said one western arms industry executive based in the Gulf. “We’ve got a large number of requirements popping in through the door.” Two days after Riyadh announced the austerity measures, the defence wing of Boeing was awarded contracts worth $2.6bn to supply the kingdom with more than 1,000 surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles. Experts say while that was part of long-term agreements, the fact that it is proceeding is a sign that one of the world’s biggest arms importers is still spending on defence. Lockheed Martin, the US arms manufacturer which supplies THAAD missile defence systems to the Saudi government said it had “not seen a backing off of expenditures on defence” by any of its main Middle Eastern customers.
Robert Harward, chief executive of Lockheed’s Middle East unit, said it was too early to know if budget pressures would filter through to defence, but said he expected that customers, including Saudi Arabia, “will continue with their procurement”.
“Regional threats are not receding and are more unpredictable than ever,” Mr Harward said. “Countries will have to make choices on budgets, as countries always have to do.” Another Gulf-based defence executive said his company had not witnessed “any shift in attitudes from the customers” but suggested that could still change. “I think that’s because the implications of what’s going on has not quite filtered down to that level.” If cuts have to be made, analysts predict that new big-ticket arms sales, which have helped Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ingratiate himself with US president Donald Trump, will be most vulnerable to belt-tightening. When Mr Trump hosted Prince Mohammed at the White House in 2018 he held up a board displaying $12.5bn in “finalised” arms sales to Saudi Arabia, including aircraft, tanks and naval ships. US president Donald Trump finalised $12.5bn of arm sales with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the White House in 2018 © Evan Vucci/AP “It seems inevitable that the [government spending] cuts will start to feed through to defence, and to the discretionary part of spending — investment in new programmes and procurement activity,” said Fenella McGerty, senior fellow for defence economics at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
“Anything that is beyond a critical requirement, including those that relate to mitigating specific threats like Iran, is at risk.” The Saudi finance ministry told the Financial Times that the kingdom would “continue to support our military needs and spare no resources to defend our people and our territory”. The ministry said it had been working to rationalise spending to ensure the kingdom got defence equipment “for the right cost for the right quantity with the right specification”. Last year’s estimated military expenditure was SR198bn ($52.8bn), a decrease of 18.3 per cent from 2018, but it said the drop reflected “improved procurement and planning” and not a reduction in funding. Independent analysts estimate that 2019 spending was actually far higher. Defence spending across the Middle East is opaque, but most states in the region have a penchant for US weaponry. Since March, the US state department has approved potential arms sales to the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kuwait and Morocco, from missiles to the refurbishment of Apache helicopters and transport planes. Recommended Saudi Arabia Twin shocks threaten Saudi crown prince’s grand reform plans But Saudi Arabia stands out as by far the region’s biggest arms importer, mostly from US and UK companies. Defence accounts for about 17 per cent of the government’s budget, and for five years Saudi Arabia has been spending tens of billions of dollars pursuing a war against Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen. The kingdom’s defence spending peaked at an all-time high of $87bn in 2015, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, when Riyadh entered the conflict, just as the previous oil slump was beginning to bite. It fell by 28 per cent in 2016, Sipri says, before picking up again as the Yemen war continued and tensions with Iran increased. “It appears likely that the leadership in Saudi Arabia concluded that the need for military capacity to win the war in Yemen and to deter and push back Iran was so urgent that military spending had to increase despite the  recession,” said Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at Sipri. The conflict has triggered what the UN describes as the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis and put intense scrutiny on US and UK arms sales to the kingdom. Houthi rebels in Yemen have been fighting against the Saudi-backed government since 2015 © Hani Mohammed/AP Saudi Arabia has imposed a unilateral ceasefire since April and diplomats say the kingdom has been keen to extricate itself from the conflict for some time — a move that could lead to significant defence savings. But Riyadh does not want to be seen to be doing it from a position of weakness, one western diplomat said. The Houthis, meanwhile, have continued to sporadically fire drones and missiles at Saudi targets.
This crisis, however, is far deeper than that caused by the most recent oil slump. Craig Caffrey, aerospace and defence analyst at Aviation Week, said discretionary purchases, such as Saudi’s planned expansion of its naval capabilities, would most likely be delayed. Riyadh has been considering the purchase of Boeing P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, but this could cost up to $3bn in military infrastructure, including new squadrons and training programmes, as well as the cost of the planes themselves. Boeing declined to comment. “Normally [the military budget] is ringfenced, mainly down to its international prestige and connection,” one of the defence executives said. “But I’m not betting that things won’t change. I think there’s a little bit of head in the sand . . . Reality might be something different.” (Source: FT.com)
08 Jun 20. Australia and India sign Defence collaboration arrangement. As part of the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, two landmark Defence arrangements between Australia and India have been established.
The Australia-India Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and the Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement provide a framework to deepen defence co-operation between the two countries.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said India is a significant security partner for Australia.
“We have a strong shared interest in working together to support a stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Minister Reynolds said.
The Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement will enhance military interoperability, enabling increasingly complex military engagement, and greater combined responsiveness to regional humanitarian disasters.
“We now have a solid framework for Indian and Australian defence organisations to enhance our research collaboration and develop defence capabilities that help maintain our technological edge in this era of rapid change and increasing threats,” Minister Reynolds said.
This arrangement paves the way for greater cross-service military activity, building on the success of our most complex exercise to date, AUSINDEX 2019, which focused on anti-submarine warfare.
The Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement will facilitate improved collaboration between our defence science and technology research organisations, both of which have made important contributions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister Reynolds added, “These arrangements reflect India and Australia’s strong commitment to practical global co-operation. We look forward to being able to recommence engagement in person as soon as circumstances permit.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison released an updated statement about the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (AICSP), stating, “The CSP takes our bilateral relationship to a new level of co-operation, based on mutual understanding, trust, common interests and the shared values of democracy and the rule of law.
“It reflects Australia and India’s strong commitment to working together at a time of unprecedented global challenges, such as COVID-19.
“Our Partnership is in line with India’s increasing engagement in the Indo-Pacific region through her Indo-Pacific vision and Australia’s Indo-Pacific approach and its Pacific Step-Up for the south Pacific.
“Our foreign and defence ministers will meet in a ‘2+2’ format at least every two years to discuss strategic issues and take forward our partnership.
“By further strengthening our partnership, we also contribute to a more secure, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”(Source: Defence Connect)
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