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Jaishankar, Rajnath meet Australian counterparts for inaugural 2+2 dialogue

Before the formal talks, Marise Payne met EAM Jaishankar for talks.

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New Delhi: India and Australia on Saturday began their inaugural 2+2 dialogue with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh holding consultations with their Australian counterparts – Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.

Before the formal talks, Marise Payne met EAM Jaishankar for talks.

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“Delighted to welcome my good friend FM @MarisePayne of Australia.

“We now start our discussion,” EAM Jaishankar said in a tweet, with a photo of their meeting earlier in the day.

On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton and held wide-ranging discussions on bilateral defence cooperation as well as regional issues.

Rajnath Singh, speaking after the meeting, said the discussions were ‘fruitful’ and both nations are keen to work jointly to realise the full potential of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“India is committed to building a robust partnership with Australia for security and growth of the entire region. I look forward to working with you, Excellency, to take the India­ Australia defence partnership to greater heights,” Singh said.

At a talk on Friday, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne had said the inaugural Indo-Australia 2+2 dialogue demonstrates that the bilateral partnership is stronger than ever.

She had also said that Canberra “acknowledges and commends India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking a strong regional leadership role” in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Today, under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi, and my counterpart and good friend the External Affairs Minister, India is showing its leadership in contributing to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” she said at the talk.

The agenda for the dialogue will cover a range of bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

The inaugural 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is being held pursuant to the elevation of India-Australia bilateral relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit on June 4, last year.

Payne and Dutton are on a two-day visit to India. They will meet Prime Minister Modi in the evening.

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