India – Australia to sign First virtual Military Defense Pact
Amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, many countries are asking answers from China in relation to the origin of coronavirus and is asking to test the Wuhan lab which was rumored to have spread the virus. China is, again and again, refusing for it. And, this has created tensions between countries.
Besides, the stress between India and China has increased because of the standoff by the border troops at the Ladakh border. On the other hand, the relations of Australia and China are also badly affected after China’s refusal to Canberra for the independent investigation of the Wuhan lab.
Now, both India and Australia are looking forward to a bilateral agreement for mutual access to military logistics facilities and other protocols aiming to develop the alternative supply chain.
This will be the first summit between PM Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison in the virtual mode due to the pandemic on June 4.
An agreement of “Mutual Support Agreement (MLSA)” was decided by both the countries, last December by the foreign and defense secretaries in a “2+2” dialogue in New Delhi and was to be concluded during Scott Morrison’s visit which was terminated due to Australian bushfires.
Before this, India has also signed similar agreements with USA, France, Singapore and South Korea.
There are many speculations about this agreement to be signed-in in “science and technology, research, pharmaceutical, medical equipment and rare earth metals.”
Currently, India imports 90% of its rare earth metals which costs around $3.4 million from China. India is also in talks with Australia to make an alternative supply chain to reduce its dependence on China. This will be very beneficial for both countries. Also, both the countries could sign a pact create a military base on their important islands, for India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and for Australia, Cocos (keeling) Island. Both the islands are strategically important and creating a military base will provide a good hold on Indian to both the countries.