They discussed the comprehensive strategic partnership and convergence on matters related to the Indian Ocean
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held discussions with his Australian counterpart, Penny Wong, on Friday (February 9, 2024) addressing crucial issues concerning the Indo-Pacific region and the situation in West Asia.

The meeting took place in Perth on the sidelines of the 7th Indian Ocean Conference, and underscores the growing importance and complexity of the India-Australia relationship, now elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, reflecting their shared commitment to peace, stability, and prosperity in a rapidly evolving global landscape.

  "Delighted to meet FM @SenatorWong of Australia in Perth today as we gather for the 7th Indian Ocean Conference. Good exchange on our comprehensive strategic partnership and convergence on matters related to the Indian Ocean. Also discussed the Indo-Pacific, situation in West Asia and other regional and global topics," EAM Jaishankar posted on social media platform X. 

He also highlighted the significance of the India-Australia relationship in his keynote address at the 7th Indian Ocean Conference. 

Both are members of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) and participants in trilateral frameworks with France and Indonesia, he noted. The two sides have cultivated a bilateral architecture for regular high-level dialogues, including meetings of Foreign, Defence, Trade, Power, Education, and Skill Ministers, he added.

Explaining the dynamic nature of the defence cooperation, EAM Jaishankar noted the significance of the 2+2 meetings, the joint Exercise Malabar, collaboration on a Maritime Fusion Centre, and reciprocal hosting of deployments. 

On the economic front, the recently enacted Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) stands as a channel to the burgeoning trade ties, upgraded by the vibrant Indian community's contributions to Australian society. 

Reflecting on the historical trajectory of bilateral relations, EAM Jaishankar pointed out the unprecedented frequency of interactions at the highest political levels, with every Australian Prime Minister in the last decade meeting their Indian counterpart, marking a major departure from the past. The current leaders have met an impressive seven times, highlighting the priority accorded to this partnership.

The strength and dynamism of India-Australia relations were recently validated by a foreign policy survey in India, which ranked Australia among India's top three most reliable partners. This recognition, highlighted by EAM Jaishankar, coupled with his reaffirmation of the ties as a "force for regional and global good," encapsulates the strategic importance of this partnership.

As India and Australia continue to navigate the complexities of the Indo-Pacific and beyond, their collaborative efforts and shared vision for a free, open, and inclusive region are set to play a harnessing role in shaping the geopolitical contours of the 21st century. The deepening relationship between these two nations, characterized by mutual respect, shared values, and common interests, promises to contribute significantly to regional stability, economic growth, and global peace.