India and Australia set to hold talks to boost defense and strategic ties


New Delhi (AP) — India and Australia are set to hold talks focused on bolstering their strategic, defense and security ties on Monday in New Delhi.

Australia’s foreign minister Penny Wong and defense minister Richard Marles arrived to meet with their counterparts for the second India-Australia 2+2 Dialogue, where they’re expected to discuss regional and global issues, according to a statement from India’s Ministry of External Affairs.

“Both sides will also exchange views on shared priorities for strengthening minilateral and multilateral cooperation,” the statement said.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh will hold a bilateral meeting with Marles, who is also the deputy prime minister. India’s Minister of External Affairs Subhramanyam Jaishankar will take stock of ties between the two countries with his counterpart Wong on Tuesday, according to the statement.

The talks come a few weeks after India hosted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Secretary of Defense Llyod Austin in New Delhi, where both countries underlined their commitment to boosting security ties, and reaffirmed their support for a free and resilient Indo-Pacific region.

India and Australia are also part of the Quad, an alliance that includes Japan and the United States, which aims to counter China’s rising influence in Asia.

The two countries upgraded their relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020, when they signed various agreements to strengthen defense ties and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.

Earlier this year, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese arrived in India on a four-day visit where he held talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and praised the two countries’ progress in ties, including in scientific and technological cooperation and military exercises.

Marles arrived Sunday, and watched Australia beat India to win the Cricket World Cup for the 6th time in Ahmedabad city. The victory, much to India’s dismay, ended the host country’s dominant run in the tournament.

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