“NATO and Australia are already strong partners. With this agreement, our partnership will become even stronger,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said after he signed the IPCP with Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith.
The signature follows and complements the Joint Political Declaration between NATO and Australia which was signed by the Secretary General and Prime Minister Julia Gillard on 14 June 2012 in Canberra.
The Declaration, which was the first of its kind NATO signed with a partner nation, underlined the interest shared by NATO and Australia in forging a closer strategic partnership. Beyond cooperation on global challenges, the two sides also agreed to work closely on crisis and conflict management, post-conflict situations, reconstruction, and facilitating humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
The IPCP takes that commitment forward and sets out in detail more areas for future cooperation.
Australia is one of the largest non-NATO contributors to the ISAF operation in Afghanistan. It has also committed to the follow-on mission to train, advise and assist the Afghan security forces once ISAF is completed at the end of 2014 and has joined the process of planning that mission.