The ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between India and Australia commenced in New Delhi on Saturday, with key focus areas being the Indo-Pacific Region and the Afghanistan crisis, along with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and their Australian counterparts, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton, were present at the closed-door meeting.
This is the first-ever 2+2 ministerial dialogue that India has hosted with Australia.
Later in the day, the Australian ministers will call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, Lok Kalyan Marg residence around 4:30 pm.
“Decision to commence 2+2 with Australia is a reflection of the transformation in our relations over the last few years,” sources said before the meeting.
The relationship between both countries is at an all-time high, especially with the QUAD playing a mighty role in keeping the Indo-Pacific Region secure. Issues such as economic security, cyber, climate, critical technology and supply chains are being discussed during the meeting.
“Both of us are keen to work jointly to realize the full potential of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This partnership is based on our shared vision of free, open, inclusive and rule based Indo-Pacific region. Both, Australia and India have tremendous stakes in peace, development and free flow of trade, rules based order and economic growth in the region,” Rajnath Singh said after his meeting with Dutton on Friday.
Addressing an event at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Payne yesterday said that India and Australia have made substantial progress in the first year of its strategic partnership, and called for reflection “on common ground” that forms the basis of bilateral cooperation in Indo-Pacific.
“In the context of strategic competition in our region, it’s timely that we (India and Australia) reflect on both complementarity and the common outlook that forms the basis of our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific,” she had said, adding that India is on the path of becoming the global manufacturing hub and a key market for emerging technologies.