India, Australia hold inaugural 2+2 dialogue, discuss defence ties, stability of Indo-Pacific region

New Delhi: India and Australia on Tuesday reviewed all aspects of bilateral ties with a focus on strategic and defence relations during their first '2+2 dialogue' and agreed that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific is in the long-term interests of all countries in the region.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra at the inaugural "2+2 dialogue" with Australia. Twitter@MEAIndia

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra at the inaugural "2+2 dialogue" with Australia. Twitter@MEAIndia

Significantly, the inaugural Indo-Aus dialogue comes barely a month after the two countries, along with the US and Japan, discussed cooperation amid evolving security scenario in the Indo-Pacific region where China has been aggressively expanding its military presence.

While India already has a '2+2 dialogue' with Japan, it has also agreed to start a two-by-two ministerial dialogue to enhance "peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region".

The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra while the Australian side was headed by Secretary of Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson, and Secretary of Department of Defence Greg Moriarty.

"All aspects of bilateral relations with a focus on strategic and defence relations between the two countries were reviewed... Both sides agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large," a press release from the external affairs ministry said.

It said India and Australia share warm bilateral relations based on shared democratic values and pluralism and there is a growing convergence of strategic perspectives between the two countries.

Last month, officials from India, Japan, the US and Australia held consultations on the sidelines of the India-ASEAN meet and discussed issues of common interest in the Indo-Pacific region with a focus on cooperation based on converging vision and values for the promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the area.

After the quadrilateral, the MEA said, "they agreed that a free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The officials also exchanged views on addressing common challenges of terrorism and proliferation linkages impacting the region as well as on enhancing connectivity."

Adamson is also meeting Secretary (East) and Secretary (ER) in the MEA, the release said.

Apart from attending the dialogue, Moriarty also met Chief of Staff Committee and Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba and visited Rajputana Rifles Regimental Centre in New Delhi.

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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2017 19:38:04 IST

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