Following the second 2+2 ministerial dialogue on Tuesday (21 November), External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar expressed that the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership is gaining significant momentum, Indian Express reported.
He mentioned the various milestones achieved this year, such as the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the implementation of the economic cooperation and trade agreement. Jaishankar emphasised the positive impact of these developments on the bilateral trade between the two countries.
During his speech, he mentioned the establishment of "Little India" in Sydney during PM Modi's visit to Australia. He also highlighted the opening of new consulate Generals on both sides, with Australians in Bengaluru and plans to open one 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,” he said,
Jaishankar highlighted the extensive talks on the Quad between the two countries. He emphasised the significant progress made by the Quad in recent years and the wide range of cooperative efforts.
"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 External Affairs Minister of India conveyed India's viewpoint to Australia regarding the strained relationship with Canada in light of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's allegations of possible connections between Indian agents and the assassination of Sikh extremist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
According to Jaishankar, the main concern is the extent to which extremism and radicalism are allowed to thrive in Canada.
During the press conference, Jaishankar addressed the Israel-Hamas conflict and discussed India's stance on the matter. He acknowledged the complexity and challenges of the situation, highlighting the issue of terrorism and the incident that occurred on 7 October.
"We think nationally and as international community that we should never compromise on terrorism, we should be very clear about it. Therefore there is that basket and to it is also the hostages issue,” Jaishankar said.
“There is a second set of issues — the humanitarian crisis in Gaza today. The need for humanitarian assistance which is urgent and the observance of international humanitarian law there. The third set of issues relates to the rights and future of Palestinians. That too has to have a solution. That solution in our view and in the view of many countries of the world can only come in the two-state solution,” he said.
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar announced that a productive 2+2 Foreign and Defence Ministers dialogue was held between India and Australia. The meeting included Defence Minister, Deputy PM Richard Marles, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong.
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong spoke to reporters following the meeting, highlighting the discussions on collaboration between Australia and India in the Indian Ocean Region. The topics included climate change, maritime security, and the health of the oceans. Minister Wong also announced that Australia will be hosting the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February of next year.
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