India, Australia to deepen defense ties

May 28, 2013 at 2:22 AM

NEW DELHI, May 28 (UPI) -- Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony will visit Australia next month to boost bilateral military ties. Antony had originally been scheduled to visit in January.

The 4-day trip is to start June 3 and will be Antony's first visit to Australia. The defense minister will be accompanied by high-powered delegation.

Discussions are to primarily focus on increased cooperation between the countries' navies and counter-terrorism, The Press Trust of India reported.

Antony is to meet with Australian Defense Minister Stephen Smith in Canberra.

Smith visited India two years ago, an event that occurred during rising tensions over sovereignty issues in the South China Sea. The result of Smith's visit was agreement between the countries to ensure freedom of navigation in international waters.

A recent Australian government defense white paper noted that, "India is emerging as an important strategic, diplomatic and economic actor, 'looking east,' and becoming more engaged in regional frameworks."

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