Ukraine-like developments should never happen in the Indo-Pacific: Australian PM Scott Morrison

PM Modi said he was happy over the establishment of a mechanism of the annual summit between India and Australia as it ensures a structural system for regular review of the ties

Updated - March 21, 2022 09:46 pm IST

Published - March 21, 2022 04:39 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during the secnd India-Australia virtual summit, on March 21, 2022. Videograb: PIB via PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures during the secnd India-Australia virtual summit, on March 21, 2022. Videograb: PIB via PTI

Developments like those in Ukraine should never happen in the Indo-Pacific region, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia on Monday. Addressing the bilateral Annual Leaders' Meeting, Mr Morrison argued for greater cooperation among "likeminded democracies" and urged PM Narendra Modi to provide leadership within the 'Quad'. Prime Minister Modi focused on the Indo-Pacific region and called for "appropriate" global standards for emerging technologies.

"Our meeting today is of course set against a very distressing backdrop of the war in Europe which must never happen in our own region. While we are obviously distressed by the terrible situation in Europe, our focus, of course, is always very much on what is occurring in the Indo Pacific and ensuring that those events could never occur here in the Indo-Pacific," said Mr Morrison thanking the Indian side for "partnership" with Australia.

The bilateral meeting is the first such interaction between the two leaders since the beginning of the Russian military operation against Ukraine on February 24. Earlier they had participated in the Quad leaders meeting that was convened by President Joe Biden of the US. on March 3. Mr Morrison laid out the broad spectrum of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries covering science and technology, defence and critical minerals that are necessary for India's strategic sectors. During the interaction, Khanij Bidesh India Ltd (KABIL) and Australia's Critical Mineral Facilitation Office signed an MoU to jointly explore lithium in Australia. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said, the agreement would allow the Indian side to "invest in Australia's critical mineral sector, as well as get Australian expertise in this area."

Addressing the meeting, Prime Minister Modi did not refer to the crisis emanating from the Russian military attacks in Ukraine but urged for greater cooperation under the Quad framework in the Indo-Pacific. He highlighted the importance of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and said, "An early conclusion of the CECA will be very important for our economic relation, economic revival, and economic security." Mr Modi sought continued cooperation among democracies for "free, open and inclusive" Indo-Pacific and said, "Quad needs to be successful for regional and global security.".

The meeting marked the second bilateral interaction among the Quad members within three days as Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Japanese PM Fumio Kishida here on March 19 before the virtual meeting with Mr Morrison on Monday. Mr Kishida had echoed the Australian concerns about the Russian military attacks in Ukraine and had taken a hard-line position. Mr Morrison in his remarks spoke about the possible fallout of the Ukraine crisis for the Indo-Pacific region.

"Our region is facing increasing change and much pressure and I think our Quad leaders' call recently, which gave us the opportunity to discuss Russia's unlawful invasion of Ukraine, but it also gave us the opportunity to discuss the implications and consequences of that terrible event for our own region in the Indo Pacific and the coercion and issues that we face here," said Mr Morrison in an indirect reference to Chinese activities in the South China Sea.

Prime Minister Modi thanked Australia for returning antique Indian artefacts and said that the items will be returned to places like Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal as these were the places from where they were taken away "illegally".

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.