SYDNEY (AP) — The leaders of Australia and Indonesia have agreed to strengthen maritime ties as a way to combat people smuggling. The agreement comes after two boats carrying Australia-bound migrants capsized and left dozens dead in the past two weeks.
More than 90 asylum seekers are believed to have been killed in the two disasters. Their boats sank in the Indian Ocean between Indonesia and the Australian territory of Christmas Island.
Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono met in the Northern Territory capital Darwin on Tuesday to discuss how to handle the problem.
Gillard said Australia would work with Indonesia's maritime search and rescue agency to help strengthen its communication abilities with vessels during sea disasters. Australia will also explore an exchange program of search-and-rescue specialists.