India-Australia inked ‘Terms of Reference’

India and Australia signed the terms of reference (ToR) on September 29, 2021 to conduct navy to navy talks.

Highlights

  • ToR is the first such document, which was signed by the Indian Navy with any country.
  • Signing ceremony was held between Rear Admiral Jaswinder Singh of the Indian Navy and Rear Admiral Christopher Smith from the Royal Australian Navy.
  • This ‘Joint Guidance’ document sets Navy to Navy talks as the principal medium of the bilateral relationship.

Key facts about ToR

  • As per the pact, navy to navy talks will be conducted under the framework of ‘Joint Guidance for the India-Australia Navy to Navy Relationship’.
  • This document will be significant in consolidating the shared commitment in order to promote security, peace, stability and prosperity across the Indo-Pacific region.

Objective of ToR

The ToR sets out several broad objectives to achieve deeper mutual understanding, trust and transparency in the bilateral talks. It also seeks to improve goodwill & understanding of each other’s concerns & future directions. It will provide detailed guidance on “conduct of the talks” between both the countries. ToR also provide flexibility over implementation of separate agreements on the basis of specific outcomes of the talks.

Background

First ever Navy to Navy talks was held between both the countries in 2005. Since then, India & Australia has come closer. ToR statement also highlighted the Mutual Logistic Support Agreement, Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, conduct of trilateral Maritime Security Workshop as well as Exercise MALABAR as the milestones of bilateral defence relations between India and Australia.

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