Taking forward the decision to upgrade its relations to the level of strategic partnership, India and Australia agreed to create a comprehensive framework for enhancement of security cooperation.

The Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation adopted at the end of the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd on Thursday contains eight elements. This includes information exchange and policy coordination on regional affairs in the Asia region and on long-term strategic and global issues.

It envisages bilateral cooperation within multilateral frameworks in Asia, in particular the East Asia Summit and the Asean Regional Forum.

As for the defence dialogue and cooperation within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation signed in March 2006, the mechanism to carry it forward includes Defence Policy Talks between senior-level officers, staff talks and service-to-service exchanges including exercises.

Combating terror

Both sides also expressed commitment to combat terrorism and cooperate to combat trans-national organised crimes. The mechanism includes bilateral consultation to promote counter-terrorism cooperation through such means as the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism.

Consultation between the National Security Advisers of the two countries is also built into the mechanism of cooperation. The declaration also envisages maritime and aviation security and police and law enforcement as areas of cooperation.

Both sides affirmed common commitment to fight terrorism and recognised that counter terrorism steps by India and Australia constitute an important part of the international community’s effort to eradicate terrorism.

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