NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that developments in Afghanistan will be an important subject of discussion at the 2+2 ministerial dialogue.
"Developments in Afghanistan will be an important subject of discussion today. This meeting is an opportunity to review and take forwards the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as we prepare for another meeting between our Prime Ministers later this month in the US," said Jaishankar.
During virtual leader's summit talks in June 2020 between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, India-Australia reached the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
This partnership is based on the shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region. Both, Australia and India have tremendous stakes in peace, development and free flow of trade, rules-based order and economic growth in the region.
"We are meeting at a time when along with a pandemic we have a geopolitical environment which is in rapid flux and we must bilaterally respond adequately to safeguard our national interests," added Jaishankar referring to the Indo-Pacific at India-Australia 2+2 ministerial dialogue.
Meanwhile, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne speaking at the occasion said that the dialogue is both important and timely. "Today's inaugural India-Australia 2+2 Foreign and Defence ministerial dialogue is both important and timely. It gives us the opportunity to re-affirm and to build on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership planned by our Prime Ministers in June last year, said Payne.
Payne further said that Australia and India have elevated their bilateral ties to historic heights. "The world has experienced considerable change, since I was last in New Delhi in January 2020 for Raisina dialogue. Despite the economic and health crisis which still continues to grapple, Australia and India have elevated their bilateral ties to historic heights as we promote our shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region," said Payne.
"A friendship is based on shared foundational values. Today, we stand together as two great democracies in the Indo-Pacific region. We are maintaining a strong focus on responding to immediate needs of the region and response to COVID-19 pandemic" added Payne.
She further stressed that India-Australia needs to work more closely to combat the challenges and use the opportunities in the region.
"Also, stressing on challenges and opportunities, cyber critical technologies, climate change, no emissions energy and maritime security. We know there is heightened strategic competition that requires us to work more closely than ever to respond to the increasing pressure on the rules and norms and institutions that unite us and underpins stability in the region," she added.
Speaking about Quadrilateral security dialogue (Quad), Payne said, "Together, we have both agencies and influence. In that context, we have revitalised Quad. Leadership from India and Australia are working in partnerships that will provide our region with a positive and practical agenda for the region. I very much look forward to today's discussion as we plan ahead to the 75th year anniversary of our relationship in 2022."
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Australia Defence Minister Peter Dutton participated in the meeting.