India completely at the center of Australia’s worldview, says deputy PM Richard Marles

He says that China is trying to shape the world around it in a way that ‘we have never seen before’.

He says that China is trying to shape the world around it in a way that ‘we have never seen before’.

Australia sees India as “absolutely central” to its “worldview”, said Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marley, Stating that China is trying to shape the world around it in a way that “we haven’t seen before”, he said Australia and India had a chance to try and defend the global rules-based order. There was a common objective.

“For Australia, China is our biggest trading partner, it is the same for India. For Australia, China is our biggest security concern and for India as well,” Mr Marles said while speaking to a select group of journalists ahead of the conclusion of his visit to India on Thursday.

Responding to questions on China, he said that it is trying to shape the world around it in a way that “we haven’t seen before and it has really evolved over the last decade. Especially in the last few years.” We have seen more assertive Chinese behavior in that regard”, he said, adding that it was seen along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with India and the South China Sea (SCS).

He elaborated, “We have seen that in relation to the LAC and the incident a few years back where Indian soldiers were subjected to horrific treatment and we stand in solidarity with India regarding that incident.” “For us we are experiencing it in the South China Sea.”

Elaborating, he said that when Australia saw what happened on the LAC, it was trying to get a country to settle its disputes not against a set of rules but through power and force. “It’s a concern,” he said.

Even in the SCS “we are seeing more assertiveness from China” he said, pointing to the creation of artificial islands and China’s emphasis on sovereignty, which he said was in agreement with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). was inconsistent. ) “When we look at Chinese behaviour, whether it is the LAC or the SCS, what we are seeing is an assertive behavior that seeks to challenge the established rules-based order which is very important for the prosperity of the region,” Mr. Marles commented.

Emphasizing that it is really important that “we live in a world with a rules-based system” where disputes were resolved peacefully against a set of rules, Mr. Marles said, ” This is where Australia and India have a common objective. To establish that global rules-based order.”

shared values

Speaking of the shared values ​​between India and Australia, the Deputy Prime Minister said that both were democracies, their countries had the rule of law, and wanted to build and respect a global rules-based order that was fundamentally important. was. “We also share geography and Australia is an Indian Ocean country. All roads in this regard lead to India,” he said.

He further emphasized that there has probably never been a moment in the respective history of the two countries where “we are forging a more strategic alliance”. In this regard, he said that the Indian-Australian community was the largest growing community there and it was changing the face of Australia for the better. Talking about the shared passion for cricket, he said on a lighter note, “The Indian-Australian community really represents the best long-term prospect of continuing to win Test matches against India.”

Defense and security cooperation between the two countries has expanded significantly in recent years. To this, Mr Marles said he would like to see a greater frequency of activity in operations and in practice. “We want to see more frequency and complexity to increase interoperability,” he said.

exercise pitch black

In this regard, he said that the Indian Air Force will participate in the Pitch Black exercise organized by Australia in August.

Speaking at the National Defense College on Wednesday, Mr. Marles said on advancing defense cooperation, “As we continue to enhance our defense and security cooperation, the pursuit of long-term reciprocal access arrangements is the logical next step.”

Talking about the Quad, the Deputy PM said that it was not a security alliance, and defense and security were not part of it. Similarly, the AUKUS Tripartite Initiative between Australia, the US and the UK was also not a security alliance. “It is technology sharing between Australia, the US and the UK. It is about technology transfer,” he said, emphasizing the need for a long-range submarine for Australia.

On the war in Ukraine, Mr. Marles reiterated that the stance that India took against Ukraine was India’s case.