The head of Australia’s air force has held a series of meetings with senior military officials in India, vowing to strengthen bilateral ties as Canberra warns China against further expansion into the Indo-Pacific.
Royal Australian Air Force chief Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld met separately with high-level figures in the Indian military – among them Army Chief General Manoj Pande, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar. Each branch marked the visit with brief statements online.
“Issues of mutual interest and ways to enhance bilateral defense cooperation were discussed” at the meeting, New Delhi’s air force said in a tweet, later shared by its Australian counterpart.
Hupfeld also sat down with Indian Defense Secretary Ajay Kumar for a “very warm” and “friendly” dialogue, Kumar announced in a tweet of his own, also sharing photos from the meeting.
Though the officials described their discussions only in broad terms, the meetings come amid growing security ties between New Delhi and Canberra, which embarked on a more intensive strategic partnership in 2020 after signing a major deal to grant mutual access to each other’s military bases. The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) also steps up logistics and maintenance assistance between the two sides, in addition to boosting overall defense cooperation.