Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton are in New Delhi to participate in the maiden India-Australia 2+2 dialogue.
Speaking at an event organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Marise Payne discussed a number of issues, including trade and investment, cooperation in critical minerals, emerging technologies and steps to ensure the return of Indian students to Australia.
Marise Payne said:
On Australia-India relationship: “We are working together to realise the opportunities that our region offers and respond to the many shared challenges. A strong India-Australia relationship is good for our two nations but it is also good for the wider region.”
On Indian Diaspora in Australia: “The threads that bind our two countries have been meticulously woven through a long and shared history. The Indian diaspora is one of the most successful and integrated communities in Australia.”
On Indian Culture: “Indian culture and heritage have been embraced across the world, the contribution of the diaspora has strengthened this. I am a representative and resident of western Sydney and I am proud of the role Indians play in modern Australia and my part of the country.”
On Shared Heritage: “Similarly, Australia’s indigenous peoples are the custodians of one of the oldest civilisations in the world. Studies suggest people of Indian origin visited the continent now called Australia more than 4000 years ago.”
On Indian students in Australia: “While the pandemic has disrupted key areas of engagement such as education, we are working hard to get Indian students to Australia as soon as possible.”
On shared values: “What Australia and India share is a vision of an Indo-Pacific that is open inclusive and resilient. We seek a region with no single dominant power that dictates outcomes for others. Values like freedom and openness are vital to Australians and Indians.”
On India’s role in the Indo-Pacific: “Our common values have paved the way for a shared vision for the Indian Ocean, the countries are the northern and eastern anchors of the region. Australia recognizes India’s pivotal role in the wider Indo-Pacific.
On China: “Australia will always engage constructively with China, but will always consider the advancement of our national interests in doing so — any sovereign nation will do so.”
On 9/11: “Tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 & it reminds us of the significant impact of 9/11 on the world order, the changes that the international community has had to deal with at that time. India & Australia & the larger Indo-pacific are not immune to the terror.”
On Australia’s support to India: “Australia stands with India and others in the region in opposing destabilising actions. Might is right and coercive tactics cannot be central to our region.”
On QUAD: “The QUAD has evolved swiftly and effectively since our first minister-level meeting two years ago. It is a thoroughly contemporary grouping — countries that engage flexibly practically to increase prosperity and security.”
On Military Exercise: “The inaugural India-Australia 2+2 underlines commitment to the strategic partnership. We have strengthened military interoperability. Participated in recent editions of Malabar exercise.”
On Vaccines: “Vaccines provide great hope for a return to normal, and I want to acknowledge the role India has played in this area. We look forward to continuing working with India and our QUAD partners in increasing access to vaccines.”
On Disaster-Resilient Infrastructure: “Australia will commit 10 million dollars to India’s initiative towards disaster-resilient infrastructure. We are exploring further collaboration with India, including on low emission technologies, ensuring economic growth as we transition to a clean energy future.”
On Economic activity: “Greater economic activity, strategic weight, the natural increase in competition — these have been typical changes. From Australian and Indian perspective, competition is not bad. It is healthy. It needs to be within a construct of accepted rules and norms.”
On Technology: “Technology is central to our partnership. India is an emerging
tech superpower. Projections tell us that half of the next billion internet users will be in India. India is a leading source of trusted tech talent globally. It will be a leader in tech rules.”
Peter Dutton also held talks with his Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh on Friday.
Rajnath Singh said in his official statement after the meeting:
“This partnership is based on our shared vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region. Both, Australia and India have tremendous stakes in peace, development and free flow of trade, rules-based order and economic growth in the region.”
Australia and India have both agreed that there are opportunities for bilateral collaboration for co-development and co-production.