He said it was time for the relationship to go “broader and deeper”.
“In a time like this we want to deal very much with friends and trusted partners. And this is a partnership which has stood the test, time and again, and has during the course of this current crisis,” Mr Morrison said.
“We share a vision for open, free, rules-based, multilateral systems in our region. Whether that is in the health area or it is in trade or other places. We engage in those as confident but sovereign nations.”
The comprehensive strategic partnership is Australia’s fourth, after agreements with Singapore, Indonesia and China.
A new maritime agreement will also enable closer cooperation in maintaining security in the Indian Ocean.
China has in recent years increased its military presence in the South China Sea, annoying Western nations such as United States and Australia.
Beijing has also deployed a fleet of underwater drones in the Indian Ocean in mid-December 2019, recovering them in February after making more than 3400 observations.
China has also entered into agreements with Pakistan and recently agreed to a $500 million loan on concessional terms to Sri Lanka, another of its regional partners.
Both India and Australia have been invited by US President Donald Trump to attend this year’s expanded G7 meeting at Camp David because of their sharpened efforts to combat China’s rising regional influence.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said the maritime partnership would extend to working together to strengthen surveillance throughout the Indo-Pacific and combat transnational challenges such as people smuggling, arms and narcotics trafficking, climate change, terrorism, and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Rob Harris is the National Affairs Editor for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, based at Parliament House in Canberra