India and Australia have pledged to work together for building more trusted and resilient supply chains and ensuring broad and inclusive growth in the strategic Indo-Pacific region, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said in Melbourne on February 12. Speaking at a joint press conference with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne after their bilateral meeting and attending a crucial meeting of Quad foreign ministers on February 11, Jaishankar said he spoke at length with Payne about regional, multilateral and global issues, besides discussing developments in South Asia, Southeast Asia and in the strategically vital Indo-Pacific region.
“We shared our experiences responding to the COVID challenge itself, but also in assisting other friendly countries in particular with vaccines, and we have committed ourselves today to building more trusted and resilient supply chains and ensuring broad, inclusive growth in the Indo-Pacific, he said.
Jaishankar said that as liberal democracies, India and Australia would continue to work towards a rule-based international order, freedom of navigation in international waters, promoting connectivity, growth and security for all while respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states, in an apparent reference to China, which has been behaving aggressively in the region.
The ministers also talked about the progression in defence and security cooperation, reflecting the two countries’ growing strategic convergence.
“Minister Payne and I also have shared concerns about terrorism and extremism. We have serious concerns about continuing cross-border terrorism, and it’s our shared endeavour to deepen counterterrorism cooperation, including in the multilateral forum, he said.
“I think we’ve had very productive, very useful and very wide-ranging discussions and discussions, in fact, reflect the real profound transformation in our ties, which has happened in this very difficult period, he said.
Jaishankar thanked the Australian government for enhancing engagement in the North East Indian Ocean region and on the Maitri scholarship, fellowship and cultural partnership programmes.