A man watches TV showing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (not in frame) during a bilateral virtual summit, at New Delhi on June 4, 2020. (PRAKASH SINGH / AFP)
NEW DELHI / SYDNEY - India and Australia sealed an accord on Thursday to grant access to each other's military bases in order to facilitate mutual defence exchanges and exercises.
The agreement - known as the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement - was reached during a virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia's premier Scott Morrison.
"We share democratic values, the rule of law, freedoms, and respect for international institutions. When these are being challenged, we need to strengthen our cooperation," India's Modi said in opening remarks. "It is time for our relationship to grow broader and deeper," Morrison told Modi.
The accord allows military ships and aircraft to refuel and access maintenance facilities.
Morrison was forced to cancel a visit to India in January due to the bushfires crisis at home, and with the ongoing pandemic the two leaders opted to hold a virtual summit instead.
Accords were also struck to enhance cooperation on cyber and related technologies. There was no word on whether Australia would join India later this year in annual naval exercises held with the United States and Japan in the Indian and Pacific Ocean.
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