Sat, 18 Sep 2021

New Delhi [India], September 11 (ANI): India and Australia shared views on the challenges of the East and South China Seas, of Myanmar and Afghanistan during the inaugural 22 Ministerial Meeting, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne informed on Saturday.

"We have talked today about many things but including the strong and enduring India and Australia relationships in trade, in community links, in cyber, climate and defence," said Payne after holding the India-Australia 22 Ministerial Meeting with the Indian counterparts.

"We have shared views of the challenges of the East and South China Seas, of Mynamar and Afghanistan." She further said that both countries share a positive vision of a free, open and secure Indo-Pacific.

Indo-Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea. China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system.

Noting the concern on Afghanistan, the Australian minister said, "Last month saw fall of Kabul, future of Afghanistan remains a central concern. Along with the ongoing fight of terrorism, the future of Afghanistan remains the central concern for both of our countries."Following the Taliban's takeover of Kabul in August, the situation in Afghanistan has been dominating the international agenda, with global stakeholders trying to find ways to ensure stability in the region.

On the issues of Afghanistan, Payne said India and Australia share strong interests in ensuring that Afghan, never again becomes safe haven for breeding and training terrorists.

"We're also very focused on seeking safe passage for citizens, foreign nationals, visa holders of other countries who seek to leave Afghanistan," said the Australian Foreign Minister.

This is the inaugural India-Australia 22 Ministerial Dialogue between the nations' foreign and defense ministers. The agenda included bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Australian Foreign Minister Payne and Australia Defence Minister Peter Dutton participated in the meeting. (ANI)

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