Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar addressed the media at the first India Australia 2+2 ministerial dialogue held in New Delhi. He spoke about Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, democratic polities and market economies, peaceful development of the Indo-Pacific region among other things. The minister said that the 2+2 Dialogue reflects the comfort that the two countries have attained in the bilateral relationship, especially in strategic and security spheres, based on the growing convergence with Australia on security issues and India’s shared commitment for a free, open, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
S Jaishankar highlighted the India Australia engagement under the umbrella of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and mentioned discussing a range of bilateral, regional, and international issues with Australian Foreign Minister Payne. He said, “We have just concluded the first India Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. This format is reflective of our growing engagement under the umbrella of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Before our meeting today, I met Minister Payne in the morning to discuss a range of bilateral, regional and international issues.”
MEA S Jaishankar then talked about democratic polities, market economies and pluralistic societies and the natural bonding that both the countries shared. He said, “As democratic polities, market economies and pluralistic societies, we have a natural bonding that has assumed contemporary relevance in a changing world. It was during the First India-Australia Virtual Leaders’ Summit held on 4th June, 2020 that our Prime Ministers agreed to elevate our relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. This 2+2 format is a direct outcome of that Leaders’ Summit and is pursuant to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”
S Jai Shankar then acknowledged the collaboration between India and Australia during these challenging times of Covid and mentioned the importance of decentralized globalization, strategic autonomy and a sharper sense of national security. He said, “Today, as the four Ministers came together for the first time, we discussed our experiences and further collaboration in responding to the COVID 19 challenges. Decentralized globalization, strategic autonomy, sharper sense of national security are some of the relevant outcomes. We also underlined our commitments to creating secure and resilient global supply chains. We welcomed the renewed vigour with which both sides are now engaging on trade issues to fully expedite the complementarities between us.
The peaceful development of the Indo-Pacific region has been a focus of our relationship. Our two countries believe that it should be shaped in a participative and collaborative manner. We reiterated our commitment to continue to work together for peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in the region. This would include a rules-based international order, freedom of navigation in international waters, promoting connectivity as well as respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of all States.”
MEA S Jaishankar then accepted that Afghanistan was a major subject of discussion and agreed that the International Community must remain united in its approach, guided by the UNSC Resolution 2593. “During the 2+2 Dialogue, we also exchanged views on developments in our neighbouring regions. Afghanistan was understandably, a major subject of discussion. We agreed that the international community must united in its approach, guided by UNSC Resolution 2593.”
S Jaishankar recognized the importance of plurilateralism in a multipolar and rebalanced world and emphasized on the on-going cooperation in multilateral arena for preserving the rules-based international order.
Finally, he spoke about the problems faced by Indian students in Australia and those wishing to go to Australia as well as the Indian origin community residing in Australia.
In the 2+2 talks, External affairs minister S Jaishankar and defence minister Rajnath Singh held closed-door talks with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton in New Delhi on Saturday. The dialogue is aimed at further ramping up the overall defence and strategic cooperation between the two countries, including in the Indo-Pacific amid China’s increasing military assertiveness in the region.