Payne and Dutton to visit across four Indo-Pacific countries, including India

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By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 8 September 2021: Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Marise Payne, and Minister for Defence, Peter Dutton MP, will visit ‘close friends and strategic partners’ in Jakarta, New Delhi, Seoul, Washington, and New York soon. This will be the first visit of high-level Ministers from Australia in the Indo-Pacific region after the US-led Western forces quitting and the Taliban coming to power in Afghanistan.

The proposed 2+2 talks in News Delhi will also be a follow up to the recent visit to India by former Australian PM Tony Abbott, who also met the Indian PM, Narendra Modi.

A combined-media release says: “Minister Payne said that among the most pressing issues for discussion was cooperation on our region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring the recovery takes place in a way that reflects our values and principles.

“During our meetings and engagements across the four countries, we will discuss our continuing partnerships to overcome the pandemic, including through the equitable, safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and our shared path to global economic recovery,” Minister Payne said.

Minister Dutton said the visits are an important opportunity to build on already strong defence relationships, particularly with the United States on the 70th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting with my counterparts face-to-face to build on our already strong relationships and to discuss further our shared interests in keeping our region safe and secure,” Minister Dutton said.

Minister Payne said that among the most pressing issues for discussion was cooperation on our region’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and ensuring the recovery takes place in a way that reflects our values and principles.

“During our meetings and engagements across the four countries, we will discuss our continuing partnerships to overcome the pandemic, including through the equitable, safe and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and our shared path to global economic recovery,” Minister Payne said.

Minister Dutton said the visits are an important opportunity to build on already strong defence relationships, particularly with the United States on the 70th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance.

“I am very much looking forward to meeting with my counterparts face-to-face to build on our already strong relationships and to discuss further our shared interests in keeping our region safe and secure,” Minister Dutton said.

In New Delhi, the Ministers will attend 2+2 talks with External Affairs Minister Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

“These inaugural 2+2 discussions are a cornerstone of the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which is founded on a shared commitment to a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Minister Payne said.

“The relationship between Australia and India is at a historic high, as our nations work together to promote positive regional cooperation. The Ministers will discuss issues including economic security, cyber, climate, critical technology and supply chains, ” the media release says.

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