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India, Australia sign pact on information sharing in defence sector

NEW DELHI, July 11 (KUNA) -- India and Australia Wednesday signed an agreement on sharing information in the field of defence and decided that their navies will participate in a multilateral maritime drill also involving the US, Japan and Singapore.
Talking to reporters at Delhi tonight, visiting Australian Defence Minister Brendan Nelson said the maritime exercise would be conducted later this year.
"The information sharing agreement will see greater cooperation in the areas of maritime security, counter-terrorism and UN peacekeeping operations," Nelson said.
Indian Defence Secretary Shekhar Dutt and his Australian counterpart Nick Warner signed the pact after talks between Nelson and his Indian counterpart A K Antony today.
Nelson said, "Australia considered relations with India extremely important in the general sense and specifically in the defence and security spheres".
"We will now be seeing increasing exchanges between key military personnel as we increase our engagement as part of India's Look East policy," he said, adding, "India has an enormously well-trained navy and considerable experience with counter-terrorism and peacekeeping. We hope to benefit from this." "We have engaged ourselves in trade, cultural and other issues. There is no intention to extend this to a quadrilateral strategic dialogue. We do not wish to have a formal quadrilateral strategic dialogue," the Australian Defence Minister stressed. (end) dr.bs KUNA 112231 Jul 07NNNN