India, Australia hold inaugural ‘2+2’ talks; Afghanistan situation, boosting strategic ties on agenda | India News
Minister of Foreign Affairs S Jaishankar and defense minister Rajnath Singh held the “two plus two” talks here with his Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.
Jaishankar described the in-person conversations as “productive”. “A productive 2 + 2 meeting today with Australia,” he tweeted.
The talks took place at a time when the global focus is on the situation in Afghanistan after his inauguration by the Taliban, and the subject figured in the deliberations.
“We meet at a crucial time where, alongside a pandemic, we have a rapidly changing geopolitical environment and we must, bilaterally and with other like-minded partners, respond appropriately to safeguard our national interests and secure an Indo-Pacific region. peaceful, stable and prosperous, “said Jaishankar in his opening speech to the dialogue.
The foreign minister said that India has the “two plus two” format of talks with very few countries.
“I also believe that the events in Afghanistan will be an important topic of discussion among us today,” said Jaishankar.
“This meeting, of course, gives us the opportunity to review and carry forward the comprehensive strategic partnership as we prepare for another meeting between our prime ministers later this month in the United States,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi He is scheduled to travel to the United States later this month to attend a Quad Leaders’ Summit.
People familiar with the ‘two plus two’ talks said the two sides held extensive deliberations on all key issues of strategic interests, including the situation in the Indo-Pacific in the face of China’s growing muscle flex in the region. .
The general approach was to strengthen strategic ties, they said.
The outcome of the talks will be shared by the four ministers at a press conference of the four ministers.
While Singh had extensive discussions with Australian Defense Minister Dutton on Friday, Jaishankar met with Foreign Minister Payne in the morning before the “two plus two” dialogue.
During their talks, the two defense ministers discussed the fragile security situation in Afghanistan and their “common concerns” related to the possible spread of terrorism from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.
The Ministerial Defense and Foreign Relations talks were held amid renewed efforts by Quad member countries to expand cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to India and Australia, the Quad comprises the US and Japan.
At an event organized by the Observer Research Organization, Payne said Friday that the Quad has evolved “quickly” and very “effectively” and praised India for taking a strong leadership role in the region.
Speaking of the “significant challenges” facing the Indo-Pacific, Australia’s Foreign Minister said Canberra seeks a region where the rights of countries large and small are respected and that no “single dominant power” dictates the outcome for others.
The dialogue between the ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense was instituted as part of a general objective of expanding strategic cooperation between the two countries. India has such a framework for talks with very few countries, including the United States and Japan.
Defense and military cooperation between India and Australia is on the rise in recent years.
In June last year, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark agreement for reciprocal access to military bases for logistical support during an online summit between Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.
The Australian Navy was part of the recent Malabar naval exercise that also featured the navies of India, the United States and Japan.