On February 10-15, 2022, Union Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India visited Australia and Philippines to impart further momentum to bilateral relations.
Visit to Australia:
On February 10-13, 2022, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar paid an official visit to Australia which was his first visit as India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) to Australia. It was also the first high level visit to Australia from India after the opening of its borders amid Covid-19 pandemic.
4th Quad Foreign Minister’s Conference 2022 in Melbourne
On February 11, 2022, EAM participated in the 4th Japan- Australia-India-United States(US) (Quad) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting 2022 in Melbourne (Australia) along with Marise Ann Payne, Foreign Minister of Australia; Hayashi Yoshimasa, Foreign Minister of Japan; and Antony Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States (US).
- This conference followed the Minister’s virtual meeting held in February 2021.
i.The QUAD Ministers announced a Quad summit including Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, and Australian PM Scott John Morrison. It will be hosted by Japan’s PM Fumio Kishida in Tokyo (Japan) in the first half of 2022.
ii.They agreed to speed up the delivery of more than a billion Covid-19 vaccines to be manufactured in India, to hold a special meet on climate change this year, and boost efforts to ensure maritime security in the region.
iii.They concurred to continue holding the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting every year, and to maintain and strengthen the momentum of the cooperation among the four countries.
iv.The QUAD ministers agreed to further promote practical cooperation in many different fields, including maritime security, cyber security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief.
v.Views were also exchanged on regional strategic issues and also shared vision of “Free and Open Indo-Pacific”. Efforts are underway in those regions, including the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and Indo-Pacific strategies of the EU (European Union) and European countries.
12th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue 2022
On February 12, 2022, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Marise Ann Payne, Australian Foreign Minister co-chaired the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue (FMFD) 2022 between India & Australia to review the progress of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and to discuss bilateral, multilateral and regional issues of mutual interest.
Inaugural India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Cyber Framework Dialogue (FMCFD) 2022
On February 12, 2022, India’s EAM also co-chaired the 1st India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Cyber Framework Dialogue (FMCFD) 2022 with Marise Payne, Foreign Minister of Australia.
- The ministers reviewed the progress made towards implementation of the India-Australia Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation and the subsidiary Plan of Action which they signed in June 2020 on the sidelines of the Virtual Leaders’ Summit held between PM Narendra Modi and Australian PM Scott Morrison.
After the Quad meeting, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar also held separate bilateral meetings with Antony Blinken and Hayashi Yoshimasa. Mr. Jaishankar is due to meet Mr. Blinken in Washington for a “2+2 Ministerial Dialogue” along with India-US defence ministers, for a meeting that has been delayed since November.
- India and Japan agreed to hold the next round of the India-Japan 2+2 soon.
- The India-US 2+2 and India-US defence ministers meeting is also due that has been delayed since November 2021.
EAM also held meetings with Australian political leaders, academics and businesses, as well as the Indian diaspora and students.
Visit to Philippines:
On February 13-15, 2022, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar paid a bilateral visit to the Philippines which was also his first visit to the Philippines as EAM. There he held talks with his counterpart, Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines.
- The Ministers reviewed the developments in bilateral relations since the meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation that they co-chaired in virtual format in November 2020. Regional and international issues of mutual interest were also discussed.
- Both Ministers agreed to coordinate closely at multi-lateral fora and reaffirmed their strong commitment to a multi-faceted partnership that would facilitate the developmental aspirations and shared priorities of the two democracies in the Indo-Pacific region.
i.The two sides agreed to make efforts to further expand economic cooperation as well as trade and investment links in a range of areas such as agriculture, infrastructure, health and pharmaceuticals, tourism, ICT, Science & technology, fintech, blue economy, renewable energy, space, cyber security and traditional medicine.
ii.To expand business, tourism and student exchange, both sides agreed on a simplified visa regime between India and the Philippines.
iii.EAM also met Secretary of National Defense of Philippines, Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of Finance of Philippines, Carlos Domineguez III, and Secretary of Agriculture of Philippines, William Dar and discussed issues strengthening cooperation in Defence, Finance and Agriculture sectors respectively.
iv.He also interacts with the Indian community in Manila.
Background – EAM’s three-day visit to the Philippines comes over two weeks after the Philippines signed a ~$374.96 million deal with India to buy three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.
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About Ministry of External Affairs (MEA):
Union Minister– Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (Constituency- Rajya Sabha, Gujarat)
Ministers of State (MoS)– Vellamvelly Muraleedharan (Rajya sabha – Maharashtra); Meenakashi Lekhi (New Delhi, NCT of Delhi) ; Dr. Rajkumar Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur, Manipur)