India and Australia decided to expand military engagements at 2+2 inaugural talks

National News, News

New Delhi: India and Australia discussed various institutional frameworks for the wide ranging collaboration to boost defence cooperation. India and Australia at the inaugural 2+2 foreign and ministerial dialogue on Saturday decided to expand military engagements across services and facilitate greater sharing of critical information in line with their resolve to significantly expand strategic ties.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the in person talks with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said Australia was invited to engage India’s growing defence industry and to collaborate in the co-production and co-development of military equipment.

Speaking to the media persons at press conference Defence Minister said that the 2+2 dialogue signifies the importance of the India and Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. India and Australia share an important partnership which is based on a shared vision of free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

He said two leading democracies India and Australia have a common interest in the peace and prosperity of the entire region.

We have discussed various institutional frameworks for wide ranging collaboration including defence cooperation and fight against the global pandemic. We exchanged views on Afghanistan, maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, cooperation in multilateral formats and other related topics, he said.

During the discussions, both sides emphasized the need to ensure free flow of trade, adherence to international rules and norms and sustainable economic growth in the entire region, he said. In the context of defence cooperation, both sides were glad to note continued participation of Australia in the Malabar exercises. We invited Australia to engage India’s growing defence industry and to collaborate in co-production and co-development of defence equipment, said Rajnath Singh.

Australia Defence Minister said that Australia and India’s defence relationship is at a historic high. India is a rising Indo Pacific great power and an increasingly significant partner for Australia, particularly in the maritime domain. We both depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indo Pacific for our trade and economic well being and we share an unwavering commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring that Indo Pacific is open inclusive and prosperous, he said.

The dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers was instituted as part of an overall goal to expand strategic cooperation between the two countries. India has such a framework for talks with a very few countries including the US and Japan. Australian Navy was part of the recent Malabar naval exercise that also featured navies of India, the US and Japan.

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