India and Australia Set for 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue Today

New Delhi is all set for a significant diplomatic engagement as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar are scheduled to meet their Australian counterparts, Richard Marles and Penny Wong. This strategic dialogue marks the second 2+2 meeting between the nations' defense and foreign ministers, slated for November 20. The focus of the discussions is to bolster cooperation on mutual regional interests spanning defense, technology, and the reinforcement of trade and investment relations.

Following the recent India-U.S. 2+2 dialogue, this meeting serves as an opportune moment to delve into pressing regional matters, notably the ongoing crisis in West Asia.

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles, after attending Sunday's Cricket World Cup final in Ahmedabad, will head to Delhi. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Penny Wong has a packed itinerary, including various meetings and participation in cultural events in the national capital.

The upcoming 14th Foreign Ministerial Framework Dialogue between Ms. Wong and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, set for Tuesday, aims to assess the progress made under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Furthermore, the agenda encompasses discussions on pertinent global and regional issues of mutual concern.

Attention is riveted on the possibility of announcing the date for the next Quad Summit scheduled to take place in India in 2024. Informally, the Australian and Japanese governments have indicated January 27 as an agreeable date. However, confirmation is awaited from U.S. President Joseph Biden's office, as he was invited to be the chief guest at India's Republic Day Parade on January 26.

Moreover, the visit of Australian PM Anthony Albanese is anticipated to serve as an occasion for signing the CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) if negotiations on the free trade agreement conclude successfully. Australian High Commissioner Philip Green, in an interview with The Hindu last month, expressed optimism about reaching a resolution soon. However, he refrained from specifying a definite timeline, stating, "I'm not going to make a prediction about when, but obviously it would be my preference to have CECA ready before Mr. Albanese's visit."

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