Indo-Pacific trilateral dialogue held

The dialogue, held through video conference, was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla. File  

With a focus on enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, India, Australia and France on Wednesday held the first trilateral dialogue where they discussed “economic and geostrategic challenges and cooperation” in the region, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and domestic responses to it.

“The three countries also had an exchange on the priorities, challenges and trends in regional and global multilateral institutions, including the best ways to strengthen and reform multilateralism,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement here.

The trilateral dialogue helped underscore the goal of guaranteeing peace, security and adherence to international law in the Indo-Pacific, France said in a statement. The three sides expressed their shared will “to successfully conclude concrete cooperation projects in the maritime sector and those promoting global commons (climate, environment and biodiversity, health),” France added.

Australia said that they also discussed areas for practical cooperation at the trilateral and regional level, including through regional organisations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

Australia, along with France, has emerged as a major strategic partner for India in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and cooperation, especially in the maritime domain, has expanded significantly in recent years. For instance, India has logistics agreements with both countries and there is significant cooperation in information exchange for Maritime Domain Awareness. India also conducted its first joint patrols with France from Reunion Island in February this year.

The dialogue, held through video conference, was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia Frances Adamson, and Secretary General of the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France François Delattre. The dialogue will be held on an annual basis.

French Defence Minister’s visit

French Defence Minister Florence Parly is visiting India on Thursday.

She will join Defence Minister Rajnath Singh for the formal induction ceremony of Rafale fighter jets into the Indian Air Force at Ambala. She is also scheduled to meet National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

Their broad-ranging talks will cover, among other things, industrial and technological partnership in line with the Make in India programme, and operational defence cooperation, particularly maritime security in the Indo-Pacific, the French Embassy said.

The first batch of five Rafale jets for the Indian Air Force arrived in India on July 29. These are part of the €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement with France for 36 jets in fly-away condition signed in September 2016.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 6:03:53 AM |

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