The summit was held amid tensions between India and China over the impasse over effective control and tensions between Australia and China over trade issues and disputes over the management of the coronavirus pandemic. However, State Department officials said there had been ”no discussion” about China and that the two leaders had not discussed Australia`s inclusion for ”Malabar” or four-page maritime exercises that would include India, Australia, the United States and Japan, which China has refused in the past. The two sides also presented a ”common vision of maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific” and signed seven agreements that focused on crucial areas such as defence and rare metal minerals. India and Australia discussed their relationship with a ”comprehensive strategic partnership” following a ”virtual” summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which concluded nine agreements, including a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) and issued a joint statement on a ”shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Pacific.” The summit was originally scheduled to take place in January, for which Prime Minister Morrison was due to visit India, but the visit was cancelled due to the bushfire crisis. ”That`s why I`m looking forward to this Australia-India virtual summit. I wish I could be there for what became the famous ”Cuddle Modi”. We had a bit of fun with them (the samosas) this weekend. Next time it will be Gujarati Khichdi, whom I know is a great favorite of you, as you have already told me, and I would like to try before meeting you next time,” said Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the end of his opening speech. Before the summit, experts and analysts expected urgent developments in bilateral relations between the two nations. The main one was the need for India and Australia to sign a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) for more defence and strategic interoperability. The two nations were also expected to discuss improving cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. Naval exercises such as AUSINDEX and MALABAR marked important turning points in their strategic relationship. While discussions have been ongoing since 2019 on Australia`s accession as a permanent member of MALABAR, the last edition of AUSINDEX in 2019 has been confirmed as a great success.
The inclusion of four front-line vessels equipped with full helicopters, a submarine and a large number of aircraft, including the long-range P8I and P8A anti-submarine combat aircraft, symbolized the intentions of enhanced defence cooperation between two states. ”This agreement will implement certain structures, especially during naval exercises. This is an important step in facilitating more complex defence relations between us, which have a strong interest in the Indo-Pacific space,” the envoy said. One of the most important developments since the end of the summit has been the publication of the Joint Declaration on a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between the Republic of India and Australia. A key aspect of most agreements and cooperation between the two states is that they make extensive use of the current COVID 19 pandemic and the global crisis that followed, which it triggered as the initiator. Therefore, even if one looks at the agreement on a larger PSC between the two states, it cannot be ignored that both parties are deeply committed to the effectiveness of COVID 19. Another factor to consider with respect to the PSC is how their assessment of the nature of the Indo-Pacific region was subtly associated with the understanding of the two nations about COVID-19. In the statement, the two states said it was important to ”react in a coordinated manner to COVID-19 and build a prosperous, open and stable world according to COVID-19.” This sounds like their vision of an open, free, rules-based Indopapamian region… which promotes prosperous, stable and sovereign states on the basis of common interests. The summit is being held at a time when India and Austr