New Delhi. Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday told his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton that the rise of the Taliban raises serious security concerns for India and the region as terrorist groups based in Afghanistan may gain more support to expand their activities.
According to official sources, during the talks, Singh further said that the territory of Afghanistan should not be used to threaten or attack any other country and stressed that the international community must take a UN position on Afghanistan. Every effort should be made to ensure the implementation of Security Council Resolution (UNSC) Resolution 2593.
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According to sources, the Indian delegation expressed concern over the possible impact of the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan as there was a possibility of terrorist activities spreading from Afghanistan to the Union Territory. The talks came a day before the first two-plus-two talks between the Indian and Australian foreign ministers and defense ministers. Australian Foreign Ministers Maris Payne and Dutton arrived here on Friday for a ‘two-plus-two’ discussion.
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In talks with Dutton, Singh expressed India’s concern over human rights violations and the suppression of the rights of women, children and minorities under the Taliban. Sources said the Afghan crisis has been discussed in detail and both sides have similar views. He added that Singh had stressed the need to implement the UN Security Council resolution adopted by India in August0.
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The resolution claims that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country or to shelter and train terrorists and to plan or finance terrorist attacks. According to sources, the East Ladakh border dispute between India and China has also received a brief mention in the talks and the Indian side has stated that New Delhi is committed to resolving the issue peacefully through talks.
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In a statement issued to the media, Singh described the talks as “meaningful and comprehensive” and said that regional issues, including bilateral defense cooperation, were discussed during the talks. “We look forward to working together to realize the full potential of an India-Australia integrated strategic partnership,” he said. Singh said the partnership between the two countries is “based on our vision of a free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region.” “Australia and India have a remarkable partnership in peace, development and free flow of trade, rule-based discipline and economic development in the region,” he said.
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“Our discussions today focus on expanding our bilateral defense cooperation and military partnerships, sharing defense information, cooperation in emerging defense technologies and mutual cooperation in logistics,” Singh said. He also mentioned Australia’s participation in the last two editions of the Malabar exercise. Singh said both sides agreed that there was scope for bilateral co-operation for the co-development and co-production of military equipment and invited the Australian industry to take advantage of India’s liberal foreign direct investment policy in the defense sector.
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Singh said, “I have briefed Minister Dutton on our recent efforts towards a self-sufficient India and the growing innovative ecosystem in India. We discussed the opportunity to work together in the field of defense science and technology. “India is committed to building a strong partnership with Australia for the security and development of the entire region,” Singh said. “I look forward to working with you to take the India-Australia defense partnership to new heights.”
Defense and military cooperation between India and Australia has grown year after year. In June last year, India and Australia expanded their relationship to an integrated strategic partnership and achieved a historic milestone for mutual access to logistical military bases during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian colleague Scott Morrison. The agreement was signed.
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