India, Australia hold inaugural ‘2+2’ talks to strengthen defence, strategic cooperation

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India and Australia on Saturday began a high-level foreign and defence ministerial dialogue aimed at further ramping up their overall defence and strategic cooperation including in the Indo-Pacific amid China’s increasing military assertiveness in the region.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held the inaugural ‘two-plus-two’ talks here with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.

The in-person talks are taking place at a time the global focus has been on the situation in Afghanistan and the issue is likely to figure in the deliberations.

While Singh held wide-ranging discussions with Australian defence minister Dutton on Friday, Jaishankar met foreign minister Payne ahead of the ‘two-plus-two’ dialogue.

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