- GS 2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
- The first-ever 2-2 Ministerial Dialogue between India and Australia held recently.
What is 2+2 ministerial dialogue?
- 2+2 Ministerial is the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries.
- In this format of dialogue, the defence or foreign ministers or secretaries meet with their counterparts from another country.
- India held such dialogue Japan and the USA in the past. It is the first time the decision to hold 2+2 dialogue with Australia is taken.
- A similar decision was taken for Russia but no dates have been announced so far.
Current India-Australia relations
- The relationship between India and Australia is at a historic high.
- In June 2020, during the virtual summit between the country head of India and Australis, our bilateral relations were elevated to a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’.
- Australia is a key partner in the Quad initiative as well as in the Indo-Pacific.
- It is also a partner in trilateral constructs like India-Australia-Indonesia and India-Australia-France, besides the ASEAN-led forums.
- Multiple treaties:
- Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement signed in 2014,
- Technical Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange signed in 2015,
- An arrangement concerning mutual logistics support agreed on in 2020,
- Military exercises like AUSINDEX and multilateral ones such as Malabar.
- Australia is a member of a small like-minded group of NSG members, which have been consistently supporting India’s admission to the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- In the context of Covid, India, Australia and Japan have launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) to diversify and secure supply chains, and to counter Chinese dependence.
Why is Australia important for India?
- Australia is a resource powerhouse and has large deposits of several types of critical minerals.
- Moreover, Australia is a major educational destination for Indian students, who currently number over 100,000.
- To deal with Chinese hegemony in Indian Ocean.