India-Australia Current Affairs - 2019

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First 2+2 dialogue between India, Australia calls for open Asia-Pacific

India and Australia held their first ‘2+2 dialogue’ in New Delhi and highlighted need to maintain Asia-Pacific region as a “free” and “open” zone. The 2+2 dialogue model between both countries included foreign and defence secretaries.

India and Australia share warm bilateral relations based on shared democratic values and pluralism. There is a growing convergence of strategic perspectives between the two countries.

Key Facts

It was first meeting of this level since the two sides participated in quadrilateral discussion between India, United States, Australia and Japan in Manila in November 2017 for new strategic partnership targeting the Asia-Pacific region. In the 2+2 dialogue, all aspects of bilateral relations with focus on strategic and defence relations between two countries were reviewed.

Both countries agreed that free, open, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region serves the long-term interests of all countries in the region and of the world at large. The dialogue indicated that focus remains on freedom of navigation in South China Sea, where China has been reclaiming land for infrastructure, boosting its maritime influence.

First Meeting of India-Australia Joint Steering Committee held in New Delhi

The First Meeting of India-Australia Joint Steering Committee (JSC) was held in New Delhi. The delegations for the meeting was led by TVSN Prasad, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs andStephen Bouwhuis, First Assistant Secretary, International and Auscheck Division, Criminal Justice Group, Attorney-General’s Department.

Key Facts

During JSC meeting both countries discussed scope for cooperation in counter-terrorism and checking extremism and radicalization besides steps to check illegal financial transactions and counterfeiting and cybercrimes.

They also discussed issues related to human trafficking and people smuggling, combating illegal drug trafficking and sharing information between law enforcement agencies were also discussed. They also agreed to pursue further agenda for cooperation in specific areas with meetings of operational Joint Working Groups (JWGs) involving concerned agencies.

Background

The first JSC meeting was follow-up to Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime signed between both countries during visit of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to India in April 2017.