External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, following the second 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Tuesday, said that there is real momentum in the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership.
Outlining the major points pondered upon during the talks, Jaishankar said: “There are many firsts in our (India-Australia) relationship this year. We have made a new beginning with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the economic cooperation and trade agreement has entered into force and this is the first year, we are seeing its impact which has been very positive on our trade.
He added: “When PM Modi went to Australia, we established little India in Sydney. We saw new consulate Generals on both sides, Australians in Bengaluru, we are opening ours in Brisbane. More direct flight connections, the opening of the first Australian university campuses in India, an agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications migration and mobility arrangement. Today amongst other things, we also highlighted the importance of moving on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, the CECA negotiations.”
Jaishankar also said that the two countries discussed the Quad at length. “Quad has made enormous progress in the last few years. There is a broad range of issues we are cooperating on. There is an inclination to push the envelope to find new convergences and fresh areas of cooperation. Today’s discussion was around what more we can do to add to the Quad,” he added.
The foreign minister further said that the two sides also reviewed the progress on different initiatives, especially the follow-up with the first annual summit which took place between the Prime Ministers of the countries this year. “There is real momentum in the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. PM Albanese was in India in September for the G20 Summit. I would like to thank Foreign Minister Perry Wong for Australia’s strong and consistent support given to us in the context of our G20 presidency,” he added.
Addressing the reporters after the meet, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said, “We discussed among other things our work in the Indian Ocean Region and how we can collaborate on climate change, maritime security and health of the oceans. Australia and India share a lot… Australia will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February next year.” (Indian Express)