Issue Brief on “India-Australia Defence Relations”

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Introduction

In the contemporary world, India and Australia are two important states which are increasingly enhancing their bilateral relations, especially in the realm of defence and strategy. Currently, India has the defence budget of almost 80 billion USD,[1] whereas Australia is spending around 35 billion USD on defence.[2] Since 2006, India and Australia have signed and established consensus on more than 7 strategic and defence related arrangements which are worth probing. These include the Memorandum on Defence Cooperation in 2006, Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009, Bilateral Framework for Security Cooperation in 2014, Secretaries 2+2 Dialogue upgraded to Ministerial Level in 2020, Mutual Logistics Support Agreement in 2020, and Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement in 2020.[3]

Besides the aforementioned agreements, the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad is the most important that was established in 2007 which is a four-country platform including Australia, United States, Japan, and India. The latter was discontinued in 2008 citing the Chinese “diplomatic pressure” of a renewed containment.[4] However, the Quad was resuscitated in 2017 which is now a considerable policy platform to deliberate issues related to “defence, including pandemic mitigation, cyber and climate change.”[5] Nonetheless, Quad’s current outlook and formation depicts more of a strategic platform that could grow into a military alliance. The latter sounds an ambitious argument, however, let us study the defence relations between India and Australia – two Quad members – to understand it more.

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