New Delhi [India], November 21 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday announced a series of initiatives, underscoring a "real momentum" between India and Australia, which include new consulates on both sides, direct flight connections, advancements in the education field and many others.
The announcements were made by the EAM while addressing a press briefing on the India-Australia Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue. Jaishankar highlighted the key aspects of the burgeoning relationship, saying there was "a real momentum in the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership."Listing the key takeaways of the dialogue, the EAM said, "We saw new Consulates General on both sides, the Australians in Bengaluru, and we are opening ours in Brisbane. More direct flight connections. The opening of the first Australian university campuses in India. An agreement on mutual recognition of educational qualifications. Migration and mobility arrangement.""Every facet of this relationship is actually on the move today," the EAM added.
EAM Jaishankar met his Australian counterpart, Penny Wong, in the national capital for the Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue on Tuesday morning. The two leaders held discussions on advancing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
"We have just concluded the 14th Foreign Minister's Framework Dialogue. We had a very good discussion...Essentially, on the bilateral side, we took stock of where our ties are. We reviewed the progress made on different initiatives, especially the follow up to the first annual summit which took place between our Prime Ministers this year in May," said Jaishankar at the briefing.
The External Affairs Minister also reminisced about the recent visits of the Prime Ministers of India and Australia to each other's countries.
"Our Prime Ministers actually exchanged visits this year. Prime Minister Albanese was in India again in September for the G20. And I would like to thank for Wong, for Australia's strong and consistent support given to us in the context of our G20 Presidency," The EAM also said.
The EAM further went on to detail "many firsts" in India-Australia relations.
"Yesterday, Raksha Mantriji (Rajnath Singh) and I held the 2nd India-Australia 22 Foreign and Defence Ministers Dialogue along with Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong. It is reflective of the growing and deepening engagement between our two countries. It was a very productive 22. Where India and Australia are concerned, I can say that there have really been many firsts in our relationship," the EAM added.
"This year we have made a new beginning with the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement entered into force. And this is the first year that we are seeing its impact, which has been very positive on our trade," Jaishankar added.
According to Jaishankar, a central focus of the discussions was the commitment to building more trusted, reliable, and resilient supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region, fostering broader and inclusive growth.
"We spoke of the way forward for greater mobility of our students and professionals. And we are committed, both of us, to ensuring that we build more trusted, reliable and resilient supply chains in the Indo Pacific so that there is broader and inclusive growth as part of the 22. And as again part of our own dialogue today, we had an extensive discussion on security issues," he said.
The EAM also highlighted India and Australia's dedication to a free, open, inclusive, prosperous, and rules-based Indo-Pacific, rooted in principles such as UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).
"We shared growing convergences with Australia. And at the heart of it is really a shared commitment to a free, open, inclusive, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region based on UNCLOS as the constitution of the seas. Minister Wong and I also spoke about terrorism, radicalism and extremism," Jaishankar added.
He also said that the dialogue extended beyond bilateral concerns, encompassing regional and global issues. The ministers delved into the current situation in West Asia and the Middle East, demonstrating a comprehensive approach to geopolitical dynamics.
"We have cooperated very closely in forums, including the FATF, in terms of regional and global issues, we discussed in great detail what is the current situation in West Asia or the Middle East. We spoke on South Asia. Minister Wong spoke to me about their region, particularly the Pacific area," he also said.
We discussed Southeast Asia, ASEAN, where we actually approach it literally from the two ends, and of course, the larger Indo-Pacific region as well.
Jaishankar also said that as liberal democracies and Quad partners, India and Australia "would continue to work towards a rules-based international order.""We will support freedom of navigation in international waters and promote connectivity, growth and security for all while respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states," said Jaishankar.
The EAM expressed gratitude to Minister Wong for her visit to India and revealed that he had accepted an invitation to visit Australia for a significant event scheduled for next year.
"I accepted her kind invitation to visit Australia for an important event which will take place next year," said Jaishankar.
Earlier on Monday, the India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue took place, with EAM Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh participating with their Australian counterparts, Australian Foreign Minister Wong and Australian Defence Minister Richard Marles. (ANI)