Fri, 08 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], November 20 (ANI): Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles said that there has never been a more important time for India and Australia to work together, stressing that the two countries cannot overstate the importance of this relationship.

Richard Marles, while speaking at the second India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue on Monday, highlighted that China is the biggest security anxiety for both India and Australia.

"For both of us, China is our biggest trading partner. For both of us, China is our biggest security anxiety. and we share an ocean. And in that sense, we are neighbours. And there has never been a more important time for our two countries to be working together," he said.

He further said that India and Australia share history and democratic traditions, adding to this, he stressed, "We share the rule of law and freedom of speech. We share this in a world where our strategic alignment is greater than it has ever been.""From our perspective, we cannot overstate the importance of this relationship," Marles emphasised.

Moreover, during the ministerial dialogue, he said, "We really look forward to talking more about that strategic landscape in our meeting today. We look forward to talking more about ways in which we can cooperate around maritime domain awareness and more about the ways in which we can cooperate with our diplomacy, particularly in the region that surrounds us."Further emphasising that this year has been a big year in terms of defence, Marles underscored, "We've seen the first visit of an Indian submarine to Australia...the highest tempo of defence exercises in our country's history."He said that all of that speaks to the appetite and the ambition on both sides to be engaged more in defence and to see that as being very much part of the bedrock of the bilateral relationship.

Recalling the ODI Cricket World Cup 2023 that happened yesterday, Marles expressed gratitude for attending the match.

"It was an incredible privilege for me to be at the game last night...I thank India and commend India for hosting an incredible tournament over the last six weeks. It put cricket on display to the world...," he said.

The Australian Deputy PM further stressed that the home of cricket is in India.

"In a contemporary sense, the home of cricket now really is in India," he said. "I think for those of us who love cricket, the pilgrimage that we all want to make now is to this country. And it was just the fulfilment of a lifelong dream for me to be able to actually watch cricket being played here in India, and the shared love of this sport by both our countries, I think, embodies the state of our relationship." (ANI)

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