The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between the two countries India and Australia was cemented in New Delhi with the end of the second India-Australia 2+2 talks between Foreign and Defence Ministers.
The discussion between Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, Richard Marles, and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong, and India’s Ministers of Defence, Rajnath Singh and Dr. S. Jaishankar, took place on 20–21 November 2023.
The Ministers are anticipated to talk about a broad variety of security, defence, and strategic topics during the second 2+2 Dialogue.
The purpose of these talks is to further promote collaboration under the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership by discussing bilateral, regional, and global subjects of mutual concern. Additionally, opinions on common goals for enhancing bilateral and international collaboration will be discussed.
Major developments from 2+2 talks
In the 2+2 talks, the ministers praised the India-Australia CSP’s encouraging progress and emphasized its advantages for both countries as well as the larger region. Since the first India-Australia Annual Summit in March 2023, significant progress has been acknowledged, and promises to continue working together on development, defence, and diplomatic initiatives have been made. High-level meetings have improved collaboration in a number of fields, such as commerce, education, cyberspace and defence, renewable energy, and climate change.
Australia was recognized for its robust backing of India’s G20 Presidency, and both countries reaffirmed their dedication to collaborating on international matters. Australia showed support for India’s Voice of Global South Summit, demonstrating the countries’ common commitment to tackling problems like food security, health, and economic development in underdeveloped nations.
The ministers emphasized the need for a comprehensive, just, and long-lasting peace in accordance with UN principles and voiced their profound worry over the conflict in Ukraine. Along with denouncing terrorist assaults against Israel while discussing the current Israel-Hamas war and the statement emphasized the commitment to arranging humanitarian aid in the area. Concerns on the worsening circumstances in Myanmar were raised and demands for an instantaneous end to the violence and assistance for ASEAN-led initiatives were made in 2+2 Talks.
The ministers emphasised their dedication to democratic principles, rule of law, freedom of navigation, peaceful conflict resolution, and sovereignty and territorial integrity in the Indo-Pacific region during the 2+2 Talks. They demanded that issues in the East and South China Seas be resolved in accordance with international law, highlighting discussion and diplomacy as the best means of resolving disputes. Concerns were raised about the employment of coast guard and marine militia vessels, as well as the militarization of contested features.
The Quad partnership’s status as an agent of regional and worldwide good was confirmed. The progress that was done at the Leaders’ Summit in May 2023 in Hiroshima was recognised, and plans were made for the Quad Leaders’ Summit to take place in India in 2024. The ministers reaffirmed their support for the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, and the role of ASEAN in regional architecture during 2+2 Talks.
With pledges to the Australia-India Maritime discussion and trilateral groupings with France and Indonesia, the discussion emphasised the significance of maritime domain knowledge. For enhancing regional cooperation, the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness programme was emphasised. The urge for commitment to international law, notably UNCLOS, was reiterated as concerns were voiced regarding the militarization of disputed features and interruptions to offshore activity.
With commitments to the Australia-India Maritime discussion and trilateral groupings with France and Indonesia, the discussion emphasised the significance of maritime domain knowledge. For enhancing regional cooperation, the Indo-Pacific Partnership for Maritime Domain Awareness programme was emphasised. The urge for commitment to international law, notably UNCLOS, was reiterated as concerns were voiced regarding the militarization of disputed features and interruptions to offshore activity.
The ministers emphasised joint exercises, 2+2 Ministerial Dialogues, and Defence Policy Talks as examples of how important the defence cooperation is. Priorities included improved interoperability, collaboration on maritime security, and stopping illegal fishing. Reciprocal logistical assistance, military-to-military cooperation, and air-to-air refueling cooperation were recognized as areas of progress. It was also emphasized how crucial it is to combat cybercrimes and terrorism.
With the establishment of the India-Australia Rapid Innovation and Start-up Expansion Accelerator, both countries emphasized the importance of industry cooperation and technology. In order to improve both economic growth and national security, a strong emphasis was placed on supply networks and technology that are reliable, strong, and secure. Important facets of the bilateral relationship included cooperation in essential minerals, renewable energy, and the India-Australia Energy Dialogue.
Recognized were initiatives to foster institutional chemistry, such as the establishment of new diplomatic offices in Brisbane and Bengaluru. To strengthen collaboration, three initiatives were announced: the India-Australia Strategic Dialogue, the Centre for Australia-India Relations (CAIR), and the expansion of Senior Officials Consultations. While the Consulate-General in Brisbane will assist the expanding Indian population in Australia, the Consulate-General in Bengaluru is anticipated to fortify relationships in the technology sector.
The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) between Australia and India was one of the advancements in economic interaction that were emphasized. The commitment to collaboration in education and skill development was emphasized by the signing of the Mechanism for Mutual Recognition of Qualifications and the meeting of the India-Australia Education and Skills Council (AIESC) in the 2+2 Talks.
The 2+2 talks between India and Australia were fruitful strengthening the relations between both the nations. Now, both parties are anticipating the third 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue in 2025.