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India, Australia ‘Strategically-Aligned’, Canberra Says Amid Differences on Ukraine

© Photo : PMO IndiaPM Narendra Modi interacts with Indian community at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney
PM Narendra Modi interacts with Indian community at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.05.2023
New Delhi has resisted US-led efforts to make the Ukraine issue a part of the agenda its bilateral and multilateral relationships in Indo-Pacific.
Australian Defense Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said on Tuesday that Canberra and New Delhi remained “strategically-aligned” in their respective outlooks toward the Indo-Pacific, amid differences between the two nations on the issue of Ukraine.
His remarks came in the wake of Narendra Modi’s ongoing visit to Sydney, where the Indian prime minister is scheduled to hold official talks with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese on Wednesday.
“We are confident that India is strategically aligned with Australia. India is a democracy with whom we share values. That's the fundamental principle. And we share an interest in having a free and open Indo-Pacific and we are working very closely together to see that happen,” Marles told Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in an interview.
Marles also added that India’s stance on the Indo-Pacific “accords with our own and we find ourselves having conversations about the region where really we are as one.”
Marles was responding to a question about the two nations' different views on the Ukraine crisis,, as India has refused to align its position with the West and instead ramped up its commercial ties with its “time-tested” friend Russia.
G7 Leaders' Summit in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.05.2023
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Canberra, on the other hand, has been in lockstep with the G7 bloc in imposing sanctions against Russia over its special military operation in Ukraine.
The Quad’ Leaders Joint Statement at the conclusion of the summit in Hiroshima last week called for resolving the Ukraine crisis through “dialogue and diplomacy”, which is primarily reflective of New Delhi’s position on the issue.

India Opens up Great Opportunities for Australia, Marles Says

The Australian defense minister on Tuesday said that both countries would work towards taking the security and economic relationship to the “next level”, echoing the Indian leader's remarks during an interview with The Australian published earlier on Tuesday.

“And this is a real opportunity for us because this year India becomes the largest country in the world by population. It is a growing, massive economy. There are great opportunities for us [...],” Marles said, adding that both nations were focused on increasing the “tempo” of their joint military drills, as well as building “interoperability”.

Finally, Marles said that both India and Australia “share an ocean”, in which Canberra wished to see “open trade”. Both countries implemented the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) last December to further liberalize and intensify bilateral trade.
Narendra Modi and Prime Minister James Marape of Papua New Guinea - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.05.2023
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