India, Australia call for free & open Asia-Pacific zone
Australia and India recently discussed the need to maintain the Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone under the ‘2+2’ dialogue model which includes the foreign and defence secretaries of both sides.
Highlights of the discussion
New strategic partnership
The discussion between India and Australia was the first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in the quadrilateral discussion for a new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region.
Freedom of navigation
The ‘2+2 dialogue’ indicated that the focus remains on freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, where China has been reclaiming land for infrastructure, boosting its maritime influence.
Inclusive Indo-Pacific region
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.
Strategic and defence relations
Also, all aspects of bilateral relations with a focus on strategic and defence relations between the two countries were reviewed.
Other important discussions
Developments in the Indo-Pacific with China’s rise, India’s prominent role in Australia’s first White Paper on Foreign Policy in 14 years, the road ahead for revived quadrilateral dialogue were part of discussions.
The discussion was the first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in the quadrilateral discussion for a new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region.
Other 2+2 discussion
- Apart from India, Japan is also India’s 2+2 dialogue partner.
- Japan is India’s first 2+2 dialogue partner with any country.
- India and Japan held discussions to enhance cooperation key bilateral areas, including maritime, cyber, outer space security and also deliberated on regional and international security situation.
- Both the nations reviewed bilateral security and defence cooperation and discussed ways to expand these ties further