India, Australia hold 2 plus 2 ministerial dialogue; discuss Afghan crisis

India hosted the first-ever 2 plus 2 ministerial dialogue in New Delhi with Australia on Saturday, September 11.  Both the countries discussed the current crisis of Afghanistan and cooperation in multilateral formats, along with maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region during the dialogue.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met Australian counterparts, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton, and discussed the crisis in Afghanistan arising out of the Taliban takeover. After an in-depth discussion on bilateral and regional issues, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that the two plus two dialogue signifies the importance of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

India and Australia share an important partnership that is based on a shared vision of a free, open, inclusive, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region. "As two democracies we have a common interest in peace and prosperity of the entire region," he said.

During the discussions, both sides emphasized the need to ensure free flow of trade, adherence to international rules and norms, and sustainable economic growth in the entire region.

"We are meeting at a very crucial time when, along with a pandemic, we have a geo-political environment which is in rapid flux and we must, bilaterally and with other like-minded partners, respond adequately to safeguard our national interests as well as ensure a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region," Mr. Jaishankar said in his opening remarks at the dialogue.

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