Image: Twitter - @DrSJaishankar
India's External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held their inaugural '2+2' Ministerial Dialogue with their Australian counterparts on Saturday. Rajnath Singh and Dr S Jaishankar were joined by the Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton in New Delhi. Jaishankar expressed that he was delighted to commence the '2+2' dialogue with the Australian counterparts. He further remarked that the meeting was held at a crucial time amid a raging COVID-19 pandemic and a geopolitical environment that is in a 'rapid flux'.
"This is a format of discussion we have with very few countries. We are meeting at a very crucial time, when along with the pandemic, we have a geopolitical environment which is in rapid flux. We must bilaterally and with other partners respond adequately safeguard our national interest as well as ensure a peaceful, stable and a prosperous Indo-Pacific region," said EAM S Jaishankar.
"I also believe that developments in Afghanistan will be an important subject of discussion between us today," Jaishankar added .
The EAM also remarked that this meeting takes place nearly a month before another meeting in the United States between the Prime Ministers of India and Australia. Meanwhile, Australia's Foreign Minister Marise Payne remarked that India and Australia have shared foundational values.
"Today we stand together as two great democracies in the Indo-Pacific region," said Payne.
"Leadership from Australia and India, working in partnership will provide our region with a positive and practical agenda for the region," she added.
A productive 2+2 meeting today with Australia. pic.twitter.com/wVorRj4rks— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) September 11, 2021
India is hosting the 2+2 dialogue with Australia in New Delhi between September 10-12 to boost the strategic cooperation between the two countries in the Indo-Pacific region. The ministers are looking forward to expanding the military cooperation in areas of maritime security, as well. Additionally, amid the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, sources have revealed that the 2+2 ministerial dialogue will see some major discussions on the war-torn nation and the security concerns. The two countries' leaders had last interacted with each other after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison met during an online summit. In June 2020, India and Australia signed a landmark deal providing reciprocal access to military bases for logistic support.