India, Australia ministers hold talks to boost ties



The Manila Times

Asia And Oceania

India and Australia were set to hold talks focused on bolstering their strategic, defense and security ties in New Delhi on Monday. Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defense Minister Richard Marles arrived to meet with their counterparts for the second India-Australia 2+2 Dialogue, where they are expected to discuss regional and global issues, a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs said. “Both sides will also exchange views on shared priorities for strengthening minilateral and multilateral cooperation,” it added. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will hold a bilateral meeting with Marles, also the island-continent’s deputy prime minister. India’s Minister of External Affairs Subhramanyam Jaishankar will take stock of ties between the two countries with Wong on Tuesday. The talks come a few weeks after India hosted United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Lloyd Austin in New Delhi, where both countries underlined their commitment to boosting security ties, and reaffirmed their support for a free and resilient Indo-Pacific region. India and Australia are also part of the Quad, an alliance that includes Japan and the US, which aims to counter China’s rising influence in Asia. The two countries upgraded their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020, when they signed various agreements to strengthen defense ties and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived in India on a four-day visit, where he held talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and praised the two countries’ progress in ties, including in scientific and technological cooperation and military exercises. Marles arrived on Sunday and watched Australia beat India to win the Cricket World Cup for the 6th time in the western city of Ahmedabad. The victory, much to India’s dismay, ended the host country’s dominant run in the tournament.