External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong on Tuesday discussed the months-long strained diplomatic relations between India and Canada over Justin Trudeau’s charges against New Delhi in the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar.
Addressing the media after the India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue, Jaishankar said, “Yes, I spoke about it to Minister Wong today. Australia has a good strong relationship with both our countries. So, it was important that Australia get our perspective on the issue.”
He noted, “From our point of view, the key issue is really the space which is being given to extremism and radicalism in Canada”.
Further, commenting on international terrorism and related issues, S Jaishankar said India and Australia will work towards a “rules-based global order”.
“…We had an extensive discussion on security issues. We shared growing convergences with Australia and at the heart of it is really a shared commitment to a free, open, inclusive, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region. Perry Wong and I also spoke about terrorism, radicalism and extremism,” he said.
Jaishankar further added, “As liberal democracies, as Quad partners, we would continue to work towards rules-based international order. We will support freedom of navigation in international waters, promote connectivity, growth and security for all while respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all states”.
The Quad, also known as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), is a strategic dialogue between four major democracies in the Indo-Pacific region: Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.
“We discussed the Quad at some length today. Quad has made enormous progress in the last few years. There is a broad range of issues we are cooperating on. There is an inclination to push the envelope to find new convergences and fresh areas of cooperation. Today’s discussion was around what more we can do to add to the Quad,” the External Affairs Minister said.
The two leaders also deliberated on Indo-Pacific developments. “Both of us are committed to build more trusted, reliable and resilient supply chains in the Indo-Pacific for broader and inclusive growth,” S Jaishankar added.
Commenting on Australia-China relations, Penny Wong said “China is a country with whom we will continue to engage. In the way which we describe, – we will cooperate where we can, we will disagree where we must and we will engage in our national interests.”
INDIA-AUSTRALIA DISCUSS ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR
S Jaishankar and the Australian Foreign Minister also discussed the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Jaishankar called it a “very complex and challenging situation” and said there are different aspects.
“One, of course, is terrorism, what happened on October 7. We think nationally and as 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 hostages issue,” he noted.
He also highlighted the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “The need for humanitarian assistance which is urgent and the observance of international humanitarian law there. The third set of issues relates to the rights and future of Palestinians. That too has to have a solution,” he noted.
This was the second India and Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue. Along with S Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also met Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles and Foreign Minister Penny Wong.