Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, will visit India as part of an extended joint visit to Jakarta, New Delhi, Seoul, Washington and New York “to advance Australia’s relationships with our close friends and strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific region”, an Australian Foreign Ministry statement said.
NRI Affairs had earlier reported that Dr S Jaishankar, who delivered the JG Crawford Oration 2021 recently, had confirmed that the Australian defence and foreign ministers would be visiting Indian in the coming days for the 2+2 ministerial-level dialogue with their Indian counterparts.
The statement said, “With 2+2 meetings of Foreign and Defence Ministers across four Indo-Pacific countries, this substantive and significant foreign and defence trip strongly reinforces Australia’s active engagement in our region. Cooperation with partners underpins Australia’s approach to the strategic challenges we face in the region. Through these dialogues, we will advance our continuous efforts to work with others to make a positive and proactive contribution to Indo-Pacific peace and stability.”
Minister Payne said that among the most pressing issues for discussion was cooperation on the region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring the recovery takes place in a way that reflects Australia’s values and principles.
“During our meetings and engagements across the four countries, we will discuss our continuing partnerships to overcome the pandemic, including through the equitable, safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and our shared path to global economic recovery,” Minister Payne said.
“I am very much looking forward to meeting with my counterparts face-to-face to build on our already strong relationships and to discuss further our shared interests in keeping our region safe and secure,” Minister Dutton said.
In New Delhi, the Ministers will attend 2+2 talks with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
“These inaugural 2+2 discussions are a cornerstone of the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which is founded on a shared commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Minister Payne said.
“The relationship between Australia and India is at an historic high, as our nations work together to promote positive regional cooperation. The Ministers will discuss issues including economic security, cyber, climate, critical technology and supply chains.”, the statement added.