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India, Australia ink landmark defence pact


NEW DELHI, 4 JUNE. India and Australia today inked a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support besides firming up six more pacts to further broaden ties after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held an online summit.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) will allow militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

India has already signed similar agreements with the US, France and Singapore.

The other pacts will provide for bilateral cooperation in areas of cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology, mining and minerals, military technology, vocational education and water resources management.

In the talks, the two sides also deliberated on a host of key issues including dealing with growing threat of terrorism, maritime security challenges in the Indo- Pacific region, reform in the World Trade Organisation and ways to deal with the coronavirus crisis. According to a joint statement issued after the PM Modi-Scott Morrison talks, both sides discussed the issue of taxation of offshore income of Indian firms through the use of the India- Australia Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) and sought early resolution of the issue.

It said both sides also decided to re-engage on a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) while suitably considering earlier bilateral discussions where a mutually agreed way forward can be found.

The two countries recognised that terrorism remains a threat to peace and stability in the region and strongly condemned the menace in all its forms and manifestations, stressing that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever.

The joint statement said both sides support a comprehensive approach in combating terrorism, including by countering violent extremism, preventing radicalisation, disrupting financial support to terrorists and facilitating prosecution of those involved in acts of terror.an "opportunity".



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