India, Australia to hold 2+2 talks next week, focus on PM Morrison’s January visit
India and Australia are set to hold their third combined dialogue of the defence and foreign secretaries on December 9, with the Indo-Pacific and preparations for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit next year expected to top the agenda.
This year’s edition of the talks, popularly known as the 2+2 dialogue, assume additional significance as they come months after India, Australia, Japan and the US decided to upgrade their interactions in the “Quadrilateral” format to the ministerial level in September.
Australia’s foreign secretary Frances Adamson and defence secretary Greg Moriarty will meet their Indian counterparts Vijay Gokhale and Ajay Kumar in New Delhi, people familiar with planning for the dialogue said.
“The main focus will be on the bilateral outcomes for Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s visit in January,” said a person who declined to be identified.
“Issues such as defence, maritime, cyber and critical technology cooperation and counter-terrorism cooperation will also be on the agenda,” the person added.
Morrison is visiting India at the invitation of his counterpart Narendra Modi and will deliver the inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue.
The Indo-Pacific and the situation in the South China Sea, where India and Australia have called for freedom of navigation and overflights in accordance with international rules, are also expected to figure in the discussions, the people cited above said.
All aspects of bilateral relations will be reviewed, with the focus on security and strategic relations.
India has put in place 2+2 dialogues, either at the level of officials or ministers, with several key partners, including Japan and the US. During the maiden India-Japan 2+2 ministerial dialogue, held in New Delhi over the weekend, the two sides called for a “free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region in which the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity are ensured, and all countries enjoy freedom of navigation and overflight”.
India and the US are expected to hold their ministerial 2+2 dialogue in Washington on December 18.