Australian defence and foreign ministers will visit Indian in the coming days for the 2+2 ministerial-level dialogue with their Indian counterparts, Indian Minister for External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar has confirmed.
Dr S Jaishankar, who delivered the JG Crawford Oration 2021, said in his speech that the annual 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers would take place in the coming days.
The 2+2 dialogue between the foreign and defence ministers was instituted to expand strategic cooperation between India and Australia. India has such a framework for talks with very few countries, including the US and Japan, the other two members of the four-nation Quad group.
After the address, Dr Jaishankar was joined by the Hon Julie Bishop, Chancellor of The Australian National University, in conversation.
India’s foreign minister started his address by revealing that he was accepted as a student by the ANU. Still, he could not join the university as he was selected to join the Indian Foreign Service.
“It was my joining the Indian foreign service that delayed our association. Sometimes I wondered about the road not taken, but I suspect that the choice I made probably enabled me to contribute more to ties between India and Australia,” said Dr Jai Shankar.
He made a case for Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as Quad, a strategic dialogue between the United States, Japan, Australia, and India maintained by talks between member countries.
He said, “The fact is that the days of unilateralism are over bilateralism has its own limits and as a covert reminded us multilateralism is simply not working well enough now the resistance to reforming international organisations compel us to look for more practical and immediate solutions and that ladies and gentlemen, is the case for the Quad.”
Dr Jaishankar joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977 and retired in 2018 after serving as the Foreign Secretary of India for three years. During his diplomatic career spanning over almost four decades, he served in different capacities in India and abroad, including as a High Commissioner to Singapore (2007–09) and as Ambassador to the Czech Republic (2001–04), China (2009–2013) and USA (2014–2015).
He was appointed as the Minister of External Affairs by Narendra Modi during his second term as Prime Minister.
Dr Jaishankar said Mr Modi had given India-Australia relationship an enormous amount of attention and time.
“I’ve heard specifically and regularly from my Prime Minister… do more with Australia, find a way of improving this relationship; and I must say he has given this relationship an enormous amount of attention and time,” “revealed Dr Jaishankar.
When asked about the long-pending Free Trade Agreement between the two countries by Chancellor Julie Bishop, the Indian Foreign Minister said, “I have a real sense that we are progressing this time. I think they had the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott here recently as a special envoy dealing with trade. So I think there is a tailwind which we hope to get us past the post.”