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New Delhi [India], September 10 (ANI): Noting the different facets of cooperation with India, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said that both countries have made substantial progress in the first year of the strategic partnership adding that they should reflect on common ground that forms the basis of bilateral cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ahead of the inaugural India-Australia 2+2 meeting tomorrow, the Australian Minister outlined the shared values and interests that have driven a rapid convergence in the respective outlooks of the two countries.
"In the context of strategic competition in our region, it's timely that we (India and Australia) reflect on both complementarity and the common outlook that forms the basis of our cooperation in the Indo-Pacific," she said at an event at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), an independent global think tank based in Delhi.
"What India and Australia particularly share is the vision of the Indo-Pacific region that is open, inclusive and resilient. We seek a region in which the rights of all states large or small are respected. We need a strategic balance, in which no single dominant power dictates outcomes for others," the minister said.
Foreign Minister Payne noted that Australian and Indian economic cooperation is also continuing to grow amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The pandemic has reminded us of the importance of economic liberalisation, both that governs the rule of the trade flows and the infrastructure that support our supply chains. It has been a timely reminder to build a resilient supply chain between trusted and reliable trading partners," she said.
Payne highlighted that India is on the trajectory of the global manufacturing hub and has become a key market for emerging technologies. "We want to work with India to achieve this ambition, including importantly through a secure supply chain of the critical minerals that are essential to the technologies on which our future economies will rely."
While the pandemic has disrupted the key areas of engagement such as education, Payne stated that Australia is working hard to bring the Indian students back to the country as soon as possible.
She also said that Australian officials are working, keeping in mind an "ambitious time frame" to work a trade deal. "We are working towards an interim agreement as an early outcome, with a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement to follow."
Calling India an "emerging technology superpower," she said India will be a leader in setting rules and norms of technology in the future. "Australia is a natural partner in this space."
India is set to host the first-ever 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue with Australia on September 11. Foreign Minister Payne and Defence Minister Peter Dutton from the Australian side will meet with External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. (ANI)