Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Canberra [Australia], November 19 (ANI): The Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Defence Minister Richard Marles, along with the Foreign Affairs Minister of Australia Penny Wong, will travel to India today to attend the second India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi.

The Australian ministers will meet their counterparts in New Delhi.

Deputy Prime Minister Marles will also meet his Indian counterpart, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, to discuss "ways to continue driving forward the Australia-India defence relationship and discuss the shared challenges facing our region," the Australian Ministry for Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Moreover, Foreign Minister Wong will meet with her Indian counterpart, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar for the long-standing annual Australia-India Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue.

"The Australia-India relationship has never been more consequential. We are working together through our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as Quad Partners and beyond to promote a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region," the statement said.

Marles said, "India is a top-tier security partner for Australia and our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is one of practical, tangible actions that directly benefit the Indo-Pacific region."Further noting that this year has seen a number of firsts in the India-Australia defence relationship, including an Indian submarine visit to Perth and Australia's hosting of Exercise Malabar, Marles added that all this demonstrates the growing closeness of both nation's defence and security partnerships.

"Our cooperation with India is at the heart of Australia's approach to ensuring the Indo-Pacific remains open, inclusive and resilient," he added.

Moreover, the 22 Ministerial Dialogue is a cornerstone of the India-Australia relationship and an opportunity to progress in working together to shape the type of region they want.

During their meeting, the ministers will advance cooperation on their shared regional interests, including defence, security, renewable energy and technology.

"They will also discuss deepening trade and investment ties," the statement added.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Wong stated that the India-Australia partnership is central to the stability and prosperity of our shared region.

"Along with our deepening defence and security cooperation, Australia is committed to partnering with India more closely for the benefit of our region, in the Indian Ocean, in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific," he emphasised.

Meanwhile, on Sunday evening, the Australian Deputy PM will represent the Australian Government at the ICC World Cup.

Following his visit to India, Marles will then leave for the United Arab Emirates to meet with his ministerial counterparts between November 21 and 22.

This marks the first visit to the region by an Australian Defence Minister in five years and the first visit by the Deputy Prime Minister.

"This sends an important signal that Australia remains committed to Middle East stability," the statement said, adding that Australia supports the ongoing efforts of international partners, including the UAE, to prevent the Hamas-Israel conflict from spreading.

The Australian government expressed gratitude for the UAE's assistance as they "undertook assisted departure flights for Australians affected by the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories and for the UAE's ongoing support in hosting Australian Defence Force personnel." (ANI)

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