Defence minister wants stronger India ties

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne says Australia must pay more attention to its ties with Indian.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne says Australia must pay more attention to its ties with Indian.

Defence Minister Christopher Pyne is concerned Australia has not paid enough attention to its defence ties with India.

Mr Pyne, who assumed the portfolio late last month, believes the country's military links with regional neighbours including Japan and Indonesia are strong.

"With India, I think we could do a great deal more. We have many things in common, and the Indian Ocean is our western boundary," Mr Pyne told ABC radio on Monday.

"I don't think we've paid enough attention to the India relationship. I think we can certainly do that."

Mr Pyne is confident he can strengthen military ties with India without provoking China.

"There's absolutely no reason to think that by building a closer relationship with any country in Asia that provokes any other country," he said.

"From a military-to-military point of view, and a people-to-people point of view, we have good reasons to be closer to India."

The minister also considers the return of foreign fighters from the Middle East to South East Asia a high priority, along with managing competition between China and the United States.

Australian Associated Press