Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Monday arrived in the national capital to participate in the second India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue later today. She was accorded a warm welcome at the Air Force Station, Palam in New Delhi.
“A warm welcome to FM @SenatorWong of Australia as she arrives in New Delhi to co-chair the 2nd India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue and the 14th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue,” said Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on X.
Meanwhile, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles has already arrived in India for the 2+2 dialogue. The two Australian leaders will co-chair the dialogue with their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Earlier, Marles had said that India is a “top-tier security partner” for Australia and “our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is one of practical, tangible actions that directly benefit the Indo-Pacific region”.
What’s on the agenda
Announcing India’s hosting of the dialogue, the External Affairs Ministry on Saturday said that the ministers are expected to discuss a wide range of strategic, defence and security issues.
The situation in the Middle East in view of the Hamas-Israel conflict, China’s increasing military muscle flexing in the Indo-Pacific and issues relating to regional security are expected to figure in the talks, people familiar with the preparation for the dialogue said.
The MEA said the discussions would cover bilateral, regional and global matters of mutual interest to further advance cooperation under the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. “Both sides will also exchange views on shared priorities for strengthening multilateral and multilateral cooperation,” it said.
Singh and Jaishankar will also hold separate bilateral talks with their Australian counterparts.
“The external affairs minister and foreign minister Wong will hold the 14th foreign ministerial framework dialogue on November 21 to take stock of cooperation under the comprehensive strategic partnership and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest,” the MEA said in a statement.
Australia committed to partner with India more closely: Wong
Wong stated that the India-Australia partnership is central to the stability and prosperity of our shared region. “Along with our deepening defence and security cooperation, Australia is committed to partnering with India more closely for the benefit of our region, in the Indian Ocean, in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific,” she emphasised.
Further noting that this year has seen a number of firsts in the India-Australia defence relationship, including an Indian submarine visit to Perth and Australia’s hosting of Exercise Malabar, Marles highlighted that these developments show the growing closeness of defence and security partnerships between two countries, according to the Australian Foreign Ministry.
(with inputs from agencies)