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Taliban regime not inclusive, agree India, Australia at 2+2 : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11

The new Taliban regime’s lack of inclusiveness and further ballast in defence ties were the highlights of the first inaugural India-Australia 2+2 Dialogue held here on Saturday.

Quad gathers pace

  • Seven Quad senior officials’ meetings held since Nov 2017
  • Three Quad foreign ministers’ meetings held since 2019
  • Six working groups, including on maritime security, counter-terrorism, cyber technologies
  • First Quad leaders’ summit held on March 12, 2021
  • First in-person Quad leaders’ summit by year-end

Canberra formally invited India for the US-Australia Talisman Sabre exercise in 2023 and asked it to “continue taking part” in the Malabar naval drills.

During a meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, his Australian counterpart Peter Dutton had said “advancing our defence cooperation has been a long-standing bedrock” in bilateral ties.

“India joining Talisman Sabre will be extremely significant. It will take some years until it is able to take part in the sharper aspects of the drills, but moving towards Quad amphibious exercise is sensible,” said strategic analyst Ashley Townshend.

Both Foreign Ministers S Jaishankar and Marise Payne agreed on the “lack of inclusiveness in Afghanistan’s new dispensation” as also the status of women there. With Singh and Dutton, they discussed the need to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a “breeding ground for terror groups”. They also discussed the Asia Pacific and the situation in the South China Sea, which was the focus of another meeting between senior Chinese and Vietnamese leaders.

Simultaneously, Vietnam, an Indian ally which has clashed with China in the South China Sea, signed a deal with Japan for defence equipment and technology.

Jaishankar said using a term like NATO for Quad was like looking back into the Cold War. “Quad looks in the future. It reflects globalisation, compulsions of countries to work together—vaccines, supply chains, connectivity,” he said at a news conference.

In their final engagement in India, the visiting Australian ministers called on PM Narendra Modi. They had arrived from Indonesia after holding another 2+2.

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