India, Australia 2+2 talks


01:21 PM

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India, Australia 2+2 talks Blog Image

Why in news?

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh engaged in bilateral talks with Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles in New Delhi.

What’s in today’s article?

  • 2+2 Dialogues – About, India’s partners
  • India-Australia 2+2 Dialogue - Background
  • News Summary

2+2 talks

  • About
    • The 2+2 dialogue is a format of meeting of the foreign and defence ministers of India and its allies on strategic and security issues.
    • It enables the partners to better understand and appreciate each other’s strategic concerns and sensitivities.
    • It helps the dialogue partners to take into account political factors on both sides, in order to build a stronger, more integrated strategic relationship.
  • 2+2 talks between India and allies
    • India has 2+2 dialogues with five key strategic partners: the US, Australia, Japan, Russia and the UK.
    • Besides Russia, other three countries are also India’s partners in the Quad.
    • The inaugural 2+2 dialogue with Australia was held in September 2021 in New Delhi.
    • India held its first 2+2 dialogue with Russia in December 2021, when Russian Foreign Minister and Defence Minister visited India.
    • The first India-Japan talks in the 2+2 format were held in November 2019 in New Delhi.
    • The inaugural India-UK 2+2 Foreign and Defence Dialogue was held in New Delhi in October 2023.

India-Australia 2+2 Dialogue: Background

  • The 2+2 dialogue is the outcome of a decision made at the India-Australia leaders’ virtual summit in June 2020.
  • During this summit, both sides decided to elevate bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
  • As per the agreement, Foreign and Defence Ministers meeting in a ‘2+2’ format is to discuss strategic issues at least every two years.

News Summary: India, Australia 2+2 talks

  • India and Australia held 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue to step up defence cooperation and deepen the strategic relationship in sectors such as critical minerals and trade and investment.

Key highlights

  • Critical areas covered
    • The discussion covered critical areas including:
      • anti-submarine warfare and air-to-air refuelling,
      • security in the vast Indo-Pacific region amid China’s rising influence,
      • hydrography cooperation and
      • strengthening ties in sectors such as critical minerals, space, education, and science and technology.
    • The two sides are in an advanced stage of discussion to conclude implementing arrangements on hydrography cooperation and cooperation for air-to-air refuelling.
  • Security of the vast Indo-Pacific
    • The security of the vast Indo-Pacific has been in the spotlight amid China’s growing influence in the region where it is setting up military bases.
    • A strong India-Australia defence partnership will augur well not just for the mutual benefit of the two countries but also for the overall security of the Indo-Pacific.
  • Future areas of cooperation
    • Indian Defence Minister emphasised that the forces of the two countries should also look at cooperating in niche training areas like artificial Intelligence, anti-submarine and anti-drone warfare and cyber domain.
    • India suggested that shipbuilding, ship repair and maintenance, and aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul could be the potential areas of collaboration.

India – Australia growing defence cooperation

  • Defence cooperation between India and Australia has seen a transformation in recent years.
  • Cooperation in QUAD
    • Both India and Australia are members of Quad.
    • Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), subsurface domain awareness, and anti-submarine warfare have been major focus areas for the Quad.
    • In information sharing, the Quad’s Indo-Pacific MDA or IPMDA is currently in the implementation phase.
      • IPMDA is a technology and training initiative to increase maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region.
      • It was introduced at the Tokyo summit in 2022.
  • Bilateral cooperation
    • India and Australia signed a Mutual Logistics Support agreement in 2020.
    • The two Navies signed the ‘Joint Guidance for the India-Australia Navy to Navy Relationship’ document in August 2021.
    • Australia also has a Liaison Officer at the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Several firsts in 2023 in bilateral defence cooperation
    • There have been several firsts this year in bilateral defence cooperation:
      • the maiden visit of an Indian Navy submarine to Australia;
      • Canberra hosting the Malabar naval exercise; and
      • Indian Navy Dornier and Air Force C-130 visiting Cocos Keeling island.

Q1) What is Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA)?

Maritime domain awareness (MDA) is the understanding of anything that could affect the maritime domain's security, safety, economy, or environment. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) defines MDA as a "key enabler" for other maritime security issues.

Q2) where are Cocos (Keeling) Islands located?

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located in the Indian Ocean. They are Australia's most westerly tropical possession. The islands are located at 12°10'S and 96°50'E.

Source: India, Australia hold 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue to step up strategic ties | MEA | The Hindu | Hindustan Times