“Excellency Ms Marise Payne and Excellency Mr Peter Dutton, Dr Jaishankar, Ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor and pleasure to receive both the ministers from Australia for the inaugural 2+2 India – Australia Ministerial Dialogue. The 2+2 dialogue signifies the importance of the India – Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. India and Australia share an important partnership which is based on a shared vision of free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. As two democracies we have a common interest in peace and prosperity of the entire region.
Today we have had in-depth and wide ranging discussion with Minister Payne and Minister Dutton on bilateral and regional issues. We have discussed various institutional frameworks for wide ranging collaboration including defence cooperation and fight against global pandemic. We exchanged views on Afghanistan, Maritime Security in the Indo-Pacific, cooperation in multilateral formats and other related topics.
During the discussions both sides emphasised the need to ensure free flow of trade, adherence to international rules and norms and sustainable economic growth in the entire region.
On the bilateral defence cooperation we decided to expand military engagements across services, facilitate greater defence information sharing and to work closely for mutual logistic support.
In the context of Defence Cooperation, both sides were glad to note continued participation of Australia in the Malabar Exercises. We invited Australia to engage India’s growing defence industry and to collaborate in co-production and co-development of defence equipment.
Dr Jaishankar and I thank both the Australian ministers for their visit to India despite the challenges of the pandemic. Both the sides agreed to continue the high level engagements to build a strong and robust partnership.