BARELY A month after the quadrilateral meeting between India, the United States, Australia and Japan, New Delhi and Canberra on Tuesday held their first ‘2+2 dialogue’ and agreed that a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific is in the long-term interest of all countries in the region.
The Indian side was led by Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar and Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, while Australia’s Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Frances Adamson, and Secretary, Department of Defence, Greg Moriarty, represented the island nation.
“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 statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
According to the MEA, 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.
While India already has a ‘2+2 dialogue’ with Japan, New Delhi has also agreed to start a two-by-two ministerial dialogue to enhance “peace and stability across the Indo-Pacific region”.
Last month, senior 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 promotion of peace, stability and prosperity in the area.