A meeting between officials from the two nations resulted in an agreement to develop cooperation on defense matters.
On Wednesday Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson visited Pakistani Defence Secretary Muhammad Alam Khattak to discuss bilateral cooperation, according to The Daily Times.
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Defense ties to be enhanced following productive meeting
According to a resulting press release, Pakistan and Australia have ties of goodwill, and relations are currently cordial as a result of mutual trust. Australia has a strong record of providing humanitarian assistance to Pakistan in times of crisis, including during floods.
Khattak thanked Australia for the increased number of scholarships offered to Pakistani students, and the extra places for trainee cadets. He also said that he appreciated Australia’s role in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, and emphasized that a peaceful Afghanistan is of vital importance to the maintenance of peace in Pakistan.
Adamson told Khattak that Pakistan’s efforts to maintain regional peace were appreciated in Australia, and applauded the Zarb-e-Azb military operation. She hailed those who had sacrificed their lives for the security of Pakistan, and agreed that military-to-military cooperation between the two nations should be enhanced.
Indian officials also meet with Australian counterparts
At the same time, Indian Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju received Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews at his office in New Delhi. According to reports, Rijiju made a thinly-veiled reference to Pakistan during discussions, claiming that some of India’s neighbors were responsible for sponsoring terrorism.
The Indian Minister also claimed that some countries were working to derail global efforts to curtail terror funding, according to a press release. India consistently accuses Pakistan of funding terrorists who carry out operations on Indian soil.
Suspicions intensified following the deadly 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, and it appears that India wants to draw attention to the issue. Both India and Pakistan enjoy good relations with Australia, but the historical rivalry between the two Asian neighbors seems to make its presence felt in every arena.
Rijiju took the opportunity to implicate Pakistan in the funding of terrorism during discussions which covered intelligence-sharing, combating international terrorism, cyber security and improvements to border and maritime security.
Both Rijiju and Andrews emphasized the growing partnership between the two nations, agreeing to deepen bilateral cooperation in areas of mutual interest, and the extension of these areas of interest.
India and Pakistan courting Australia
As the geopolitical situation in Asia becomes ever more complex, both nations are attempting to maintain good relations with foreign powers. Pakistan continues to enjoy the benefits of its close relationship with China, much to the annoyance of India.
India’s historically strong relationship with Russia is not looking so fruitful given the current economic plight of the country, and its increasing international isolation. While Pakistan has attracted huge amounts of investment from China, India has been left out in the cold due to poor relations with Beijing.
Increasing regional security is a major step in ensuring continued economic growth in India and Pakistan, and New Delhi consistently links Islamabad with terrorist groups in an attempt to discredit Pakistan in the eyes of the international community. If both nations can put aside their traditional enmity there may be hope for peace and the opportunity to concentrate on development rather than war.
In the meantime Australia looks set to cooperate with both nations separately, rather than a more effective multilateral cooperation.