India, Australia committed to free, inclusive, rules-based Indo-Pacific: Jaishankar

New Delhi: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that India and Australia have a shared commitment to a free, open, inclusive, prosperous, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
Addressing a joint press conference here after holding the 14th Foreign Ministerial Framework Dialogue with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong, Jaishankar said, “Both the countries have expressed their commitment to build a more trusted, reliable and resilient supply chain in the Indo-Pacific region”.
The External Affairs Minister stressed that the India-Australia strategic partnership is making great strides, adding “every facet of the India-Australia relationship is on the move”.
The Minister said he had a “very good discussion” covering a very large number of subjects with his Australian counterpart.
“Essentially, on the bilateral side, we took stock of where our ties are; we reviewed the progress made on different initiatives, especially the first annual summit which took place between our Prime Ministers this year,” he said.
Both Ministers discussed close collaboration in trilateral, quadrilateral and multilateral formats and exchanged perspectives on Indo-Pacific and West Asia regions, including security issues.
The External Affairs Minister said they discussed the current situation in West Asia, as also South Asia, Southeast Asia and ASEAN. They also spoke about terrorism, radicalism and extremism.
He said: “As liberal democracies and Quad partners, India and Australia will continue to work towards a rules-based international order and support freedom of navigation in international waters, promote connectivity, growth and security for all, while respecting territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states”.
Asked about the Israel-Hamas conflict Jaishankar said there are different aspects of the “very complex and challenging situation”.
“One, of course, is terrorism, which happened on October 7. We think nationally and as an international community that we should never compromise on terrorism, we should be very clear about it. Therefore there is that basket and to it is also the hostage issue,” he said.
The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said his country will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth next February.
“It will be an opportunity to discuss practical solutions for key challenges facing the region. She also announced an Australia-India Audio Visual Coproduction agreement,” Young said.
“We discussed among other things our work in the Indian Ocean Region and how we can collaborate on climate change, maritime security, and health of the oceans. Australia and India share a lot” she said.
On the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Australian foreign minister said said “On the aspirations of the Palestinian people, I think what this shows us is that we do need a political solution. We do need to get to a point where we see both Israeli and Palestinian peoples living in peace and security behind international borders. And that progress to a two-state solution is required”.
The Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue took place a day after the 2nd India and Australia 2+2 dialogue between the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries. UNI

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