In a notable development today, Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong touched down in the national capital for the second India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue scheduled later in the day. The distinguished guest received a cordial reception at the Air Force Station, Palam in New Delhi.
Adding to the diplomatic engagements, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles has also arrived in India to partake in the 2+2 dialogue. The collaborative session will be jointly led by the Australian leaders and their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Earlier statements by Marles underscored the significance of the bilateral relationship, affirming that India holds a position as a “top-tier security partner” for Australia. He emphasised that the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two nations translates into practical and tangible actions, directly contributing to the well-being of the Indo-Pacific region.
Expressing the warm reception, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi tweeted, “A warm welcome to FM @SenatorWong of Australia as she arrives in New Delhi to co-chair the 2nd India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and the 14th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue.”
In preparation for the upcoming dialogue, India’s Ministry of External Affairs announced on Saturday that the discussions are set to cover a broad spectrum of strategic, defence, and security issues.
Notably, the talks are anticipated to address the situation in the Middle East concerning the Hamas-Israel conflict, China’s growing military assertiveness in the Indo-Pacific, and matters related to regional security, according to sources familiar with the dialogue’s preparations.
The Ministry of External Affairs highlighted that the deliberations would encompass bilateral, regional, and global subjects of shared interest, aiming to further enhance cooperation within the framework of the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. The statement mentioned that both sides would exchange perspectives on common priorities for reinforcing multilateral and bilateral cooperation.
Additionally, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar are scheduled to engage in separate bilateral discussions with their Australian counterparts. The Ministry of External Affairs disclosed that the 14th Foreign Ministerial Framework Dialogue between Minister Jaishankar and Foreign Minister Wong is slated for November 21.
The dialogue will assess the progress of cooperation under the comprehensive strategic partnership and facilitate discussions on regional and global issues of mutual interest.
Emphasising the pivotal role of the India-Australia partnership, Minister Wong asserted that it holds a central position in ensuring stability and prosperity within the shared region. She underscored Australia’s commitment to fostering a closer collaboration with India, extending beyond deepening defence and security cooperation to benefit the region collectively, specifically in the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.
Highlighting significant milestones achieved this year in the India-Australia defence relationship, Minister Marles pointed out notable events such as the unprecedented Indian submarine visit to Perth and Australia’s hosting of Exercise Malabar. These developments, as per the Australian Foreign Ministry, underscore the increasing intimacy in defence and security partnerships between the two nations.