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    Emphasis has been placed on enhancing strategic cooperation in the 2 + 2 talks between India and Australia


    New Delhi. India and Australia began high-level dialogue at the defense and foreign ministry levels on Saturday. It aims to further enhance overall defense and strategic cooperation between the two countries amid growing Chinese military pressure in the Indo-Pacific region. Foreign Minister S Jayashankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh held initial ‘two-plus-two’ talks with their Australian counterparts Maurice Payne and Peter Dutton, respectively. This dialogue is taking place at a time when the world’s attention is focused on the situation in Afghanistan and it is hoped that this dialogue will also be discussed.

    On Friday, Rajnath Singh had extensive discussions with Australian Defense Minister Dutton on various issues, with Jayashankar meeting Foreign Minister Payne just before the ‘two-plus-two’ talks. The two countries’ defense ministers discussed the fragile security situation in Afghanistan and “common concerns” about the possibility of terrorism spreading from Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

    Read more: India tough on terrorism issue, UN says – Taliban should keep promises

    The talks between the foreign and defense ministers come at a time when members of the Quad Group are making renewed efforts to boost co-operation in the Indo-Pacific region. In addition to India and Australia, the group includes the United States and Japan. Speaking at the Observatory Research Foundation event, Payne said Friday that the quad had grown “quickly” and “very effectively” and praised Australia for playing a strong leadership role in the region.

    Read more: – Australia-India 2 + 2 talks today, Canberra ‘disappointed’ with Taliban; China is also expected to hold talks

    Payne said of the “significant challenge” facing the Indo-Pacific Ocean, Australia wants a region where the rights of small and large countries are respected and the “single dominant power” does not determine the outcome for others. Defense and military cooperation between India and Australia has grown year after year. In June last year, India and Australia expanded their relationship to a broader strategic partnership, and during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, a historic landmark agreement was signed for mutual use in logistical military bases.

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