Thu, 30 Nov 2023

New Delhi [India], November 20 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that the bilateral relationship between India and Australia has grown rapidly and noted that it has larger implications for the region.

He called the partnership between India and Australia in Quad format "very beneficial" for bilateral relations and the Indo-Pacific region.

In his opening remarks at the India-Australia 22 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue here in the national capital, Jaishankar said, "When it comes to the 22, I'd like to make a few points for our collective consideration. One, that our bilateral relationship has certainly grown rapidly, but that it has larger implications for the region, and a lot of other countries look to us and to our relationship in many ways as a factor of stability and security.""Second, this has happened at a time when there is increasing uncertainty in the world. We are seeing sharper polarization, deeper stresses today, and while it is important to ensure that the routine is there for the region to feel safer, we have to build and we have to act for stability on a daily basis," he added.

Jaishankar acknowledged that India and Australia face "exceptional challenges," including regional and global, and many of them involve challenges to the rule of law. He noted that India and Australia also work with a few other nations in trilaterals.

"Third, we do face exceptional challenges, some regional, some global; many of them involve challenges to the rule of law, and as comprehensive strategic partners, it is important to also plan for those exceptions. And these could be man-made exceptions, but these could be HADR situations where, again, it's important that we have a culture of cooperation in order to respond," Jaishankar said.

"Our partnership in the Quad format has been very beneficial for the Indo-Pacific region and indeed for our own bilateral relationship. And of course, we work with a few other countries in trilaterals as well. Trilaterals with Indonesia and France come to mind," he added.

In his remarks at the India-Australia 22 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue, Jaishankar recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese met five times in 2023. He stressed that the two nations held the first-ever annual summit in March this year and called it a "noteworthy development."EAM Jaishankar said, "Let me also echo the sentiment that it's been an exceptional year for our relationship, and I see that our prime ministers have actually met five times this year, thrice in each other's countries, and on two other occasions as well. And we've had our first-ever annual summit in March this year. So that is also a very noteworthy development.""When one looks at milestones, the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) entered into force last December, and we are seeing its economic implications unfold this year in terms of a trade increase. The migration and mobility partnership arrangement was signed, and we reached a mutual recognition of qualifications. Both are very important steps, I think, for the further development of our relationship. And we can see today that a million-strong Indian community and 100,000 Indian students really form a living bridge between our two countries," he added.

The India-Australia 22 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue is being co-chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles, and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong.

Meanwhile, Penny Wong said that Australia deeply values its bilateral relationship, economic ties, two-way trade and investment, and people-to-people links with India. She called the partnership with India "consequential" for Australia.

In her opening remarks at the India-Australia 22 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue, Penny Wong noted that the two nations have done a lot together bilaterally and hope to do more. She recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's state visit to Australia.

Penny Wong said, "It's a real honour to be here for the two plus two. It's been a big year in the bilateral relationship, I think, since we were elected to took some 19 ministerial visits to India by our government. We've obviously had Prime Minister Modi's state visit to Australia which was so welcomed.""We've done a lot of work together bilaterally, and we hope to do more again today. I think what I would emphasize is that we value deeply the bilateral relationship, economic ties, two-way trade and investment, the people-to-people links, and the climate initiatives particularly, that we're working on together. But to again underline what we all know, which is that this is a partnership that is consequential for us but crucial for our region, and we see you, India, as central and crucial to the sort of region we continue to work for peaceful, stable, prosperous, where sovereignty is respected, and we look forward in this discussion to going further on the ways in which we can both work to deliver that," she added.

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, said that the ministers of India and Australia during the 22 Ministerial Dialogue are expected to discuss various issues, including in areas of defence and security, trade and investment, critical minerals, energy, climate change, ST, space, education, and people-to-people linkages.

Taking on his social media X, Arindam Bagchi stated, "Furthering - Comprehensive Strategic Partnership! RM @rajnathsinghEAM @DrSJaishankar warmly received Deputy PMDefence Minister @RichardMarlesMP and FM @SenatorWong of Australia ahead of the 2nd - 22 Ministerial Dialogue. Ministers will exchange views on deepening multifaceted - ties, including in areas of defence and security, tradeinvestment, critical minerals, energy, climate change, ST, space, education and people-to-people linkages. Regional and global issues are also on the agenda."Earlier today, Penny Wong arrived in the national capital to participate in the second India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue. She was accorded a warm welcome at the Air Force Station, Palam, in New Delhi. Notably, the inaugural 22 ministerial dialogue took place in New Delhi in September 2021.

"A warm welcome to FM @SenatorWong of Australia as she arrives in New Delhi to co-chair the 2nd India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue and the 14th Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue. A rich agenda of discussion covering various facets of India-Australia partnership awaits," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi posted on X. (ANI)

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