NEW DELHI: India and Australia announced an exchange programme for the military officers after General Bipin Rawat during a recently concluded virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian PM Scott Morrison.
“Defence and Security is one of the major areas of bilateral cooperation between the two countries that have now joined hands to set up General Bipin Rawat Young Defence Officers Exchange Programme. This will enable younger officers in both countries to familiarise themselves with the other country and increase service to service contacts between the two nations,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla, India’s Foreign Secretary said at a press briefing on Monday that was also attended by The New Indian.
Earlier last month, in a tete á tete with Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton, Indian External Affairs Minister Dr Subramanian Jaishankar, too, had emphasised upon Defence and Security as the key pillars of bilateral partnership between India and Australia.
General Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff, his wife Madhulika Rawat and 12 other military personnel lost their lives in December 2021 in a chopper clash on the way to Defence Service Staff College in Wellington. A Padma Vibhushan was conferred posthumously to General Rawat on Monday for civil service. General Rawat’s daughters, Kritika Rawat and Tarini Rawat, received the award from President Ram Nath Kovind.
“As the first Chief of Defence Staff and Secretary, Department of Military Affairs, he was pivotal in ushering transformative reforms in Indian Armed Forces,” President Kovind tweeted yesterday.
Australia and India, the two QUAD members initiated a 2+2 dialogue last year and signed a pact in 2020 to reciprocal access to military bases.
“The summit re-established our shared belief with Australia in democracy and value attached to the rule of law,” said Shringla, sharing details on the virtual summit.