Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Indian External Minister S Jaishankar participated in the 13th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue in Canberra.
They took stock of the steady progress of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including important Ministerial visits in recent months.
However, high on the agenda were counter-terrorism, defence issues, mobility of talent & skills with education collaboration.
Some other topics discussed during almost four hours long meetings were double taxation avoidance, critical minerals, cyber, clean energy and SDGs.
In a media interaction, Foreign Minister Penny Wong said, “the relationship with India is a critical part of Australia’s efforts to shape the region.”
“We have a shared interest and a shared ambition in a stable and prosperous region where sovereignty is respected,”Minister Wong said.
This is Minister Jaishankar’s second visit to Australia this year, demonstrating the importance both Australia and India place on their partnership.
Indian External Minister Jaishankar did not hide the fact that India’s territorial integrity is of utmost importance to it.
(Joint presser of Senator Penny Wong and Dr S. Jaishankar covered by The Australia Today’s News Editor, Pallavi Jain).
In reply to a question on the Khalistani propaganda opening run through Canada,
Minister Jaishankar said,
“Every democracy has this responsibility that democratic values are protected without impacting on other democracies.”
Minister Jaishankar also said that he was pleased to see that the economic cooperation and trade agreement that was finalized earlier this year is moving towards its ratification and entry into force. Both countries are also taking steps to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement because that was also a bit of a challenge to growing businesses.
Since June this year, six Indian Cabinet Ministers have visited Australia, among them the Minister for coal and mines, renewable energy, education, and water resources. And we’ve also seen that the Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister as well as the Deputy Premier of Western Australia and the Premier of New South Wales have been to India with business delegations.
Ukraine conflict and its repercussions were also discussed by both Ministers.
Minister Jaishankar didn’t reveal if India will back a planned UNGA resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. However, he mentioned that India is “clearly against the conflict in Ukraine” and is increasingly concerned about the impact on food/fuel prices, particularly in Global South.
Adding to his remarks Minister Wong simply pointed to what Indian Prime Minister Modi has put on public record.
“We welcomed Prime Minister Modi raising his concerns with Mr Putin in September … and as Prime Minister Modi has told Mr Putin, this is not the time for war.”
Minister Jaishankar concluded by saying that as liberal democracies, we both believe in a rules-based international order, in freedom of navigation in international waters, in promoting connectivity, growth and security for all, and as Minister Wong said, in ensuring that countries make sovereign choices on matters that are important to them.
Australia agreed to expand its diplomatic footprints in India, by recommitting to open a Consulate-General in Bengaluru, and India planning an additional consulate in Australia.
I look forward to our continued engagement as we build and sustain our partnership and region, said Minister Wong.