India and Australia 2+2 talks likely next month | India News

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NEW DELHI: India will hold a series of high-level bilateral talks with Australia when its foreign minister Marise Payne and new defence minister Peter Dutton visit India next month for the 2+2 dialogue with their counterparts S Jaishankar and Rajnath Singh. The two countries, which are close partners now, are working on the dates for the meeting, as per reports.
The engagement will come after a standalone visit to India last week by former Australian PM Tony Abbott, who is now the special envoy for trade and investment.
In a piece he wrote after his visit and meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abbott had said, “Because trade deals are about politics as much as economics, a swift deal between India and Australia would be an important sign of the democratic world’s tilt away from China… Although currently not as rich as China, as a democracy under the rule of law, and as the world’s second-largest producer of steel and pharmaceuticals, and with its own version of Silicon Valley, India is perfectly placed to substitute for China in global supply chains.”
The two nations are working on getting a trade and investment deal through, which has acquired greater importance in the aftermath of India walking away from RCEP, as well as the new economic-strategic realities brought to the fore by the Covid-19 pandemic.
India has signed with Japan and Australia an agreement to build resilient supply chains. Though Abbott is clearly keen on pushing the India relationship, he puts the blame for the “sub-par trade relationship” mostly on our high tariff structures and ponderous systems. As members of the Quad grouping, India and Australia have borne the brunt of China’s wrath in the past year — India on the border in eastern Ladakh and Australia facing a Chinese boycott of its coal, barley, and wine exports. Strategically they have been closer than before. In fact, Modi will meet Scott Morrison at the first in-person Quad summit in Washington, scheduled tentatively in September this year.

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