NEW DELHI: The Indian and Australian Prime Ministers have met five times this year, which speaks volumes about their relationship, said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar during the 2+2 ministerial dialogue between the two countries in New Delhi on Monday.
"We have had our first ever annual Summit in March. The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) entered into force in December 2022 as we are seeing its economic implications are noticed now in case of trade increase. Migration and mobility partnership have fortified the relationship. There are over one million from the community and 100000 students in Australia. In 2+2 our bilateral relations has grown rapidly," said Jaishankar.
"We face challenges – regional and global – where rule of law is challenged. Important to plan for those exceptions including in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). Quad partnership has been benefitial for Indo Pacific and our own bilateral relationship. We also have trilaterals with Indonesia and France," Jaishankar added.
The meeting was attended by Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh from the Indian side and Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Deputy PM and Defence Minister Richard Marles from Australia.
"I had a very good meeting with Richard Marles. We spoke about the recent developments that influence the Indo-Pacific strategic scenario and also exchanged views on West Asia. And yes we also discussed yesterday's match – Congratulations Australia," said Jaishankar after meeting Richard Marles earlier on Monday.
Penny Wong, Australian Foreign Minister, said that the Australia-India relationship has never been more consequential. Wong also had a separate meeting with policy leaders and discussed gender equality in foreign trade and development policy.
"The aspirations we champion in our region – peace, stability, prosperity – can only be achieved if we continue to see progress in gender equality," said Wong.