New Delhi: India and Australia on Monday held their third 2+2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi, wherein both sides exchanged perspectives on developments in the Indo-Pacific Region, West Asia, South Asia and Ukraine.
From India side, Defence minister Rajnath Singh and External affairs minister S Jaishankar and from Australian side, Richard Marles and Penny Wong attended the meeting.
The meeting took place amidst ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and Israel’s military operation against Hamas in Gaza.
In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Defence minister Rajnath Singh said: “Attended a comprehensive India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Meeting. There is a consensus on both the sides that a strong India-Australia partnership augurs well for overall peace, security and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific region.”
“India looks forward to continue working with Australia to take our bilateral relationship onwards and upwards,” he said.
External affairs minister S Jaishankar said: “Joined RM @rajnathsingh ji in co-hosting the second India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial dialogue. Thank DPM @RichardMarlesMP and FM @SenatorWong for an open and productive exchange of views.”
“Took stock of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and our growing convergences, especially in the defence, security and maritime domains. They work for the larger benefit of the region,” he said.
“Shared perspectives on developments in the Indo-Pacific, West Asia, South Asia and Ukraine,” Jaishankar added.
“Spoke also about our contribution to addressing regional and global needs. Will explore working together in third countries,” the foreign minister said.
“We are seeing sharper polarisation, deeper stresses and today, while it is important to ensure that the routine is there for the region to feel safer. So, we have to build and act for stability on a daily basis," he said.
Jaishankar said India and Australia do face "exceptional challenges", and it is important for both the countries to plan for these exceptions.
“Australia and India share a close bilateral relationship with our shared history and people-to-people links,” Richard Marles said.
Marles said for both India and Australia, China is the biggest trade partner and also the "biggest security anxiety", and underscored the need for the two countries to work together.
"We share an ocean and in that sense, we are neighbours, and there has never been a more important time for our two countries to be working together," Marles said, stressing on the importance of cooperation on maritime domain awareness.
Penny Wong said: “this is a partnership which is ‘consequential to us, crucial to our region’.”
“We see India as central to region where sovereignty is respected,” she added.