External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will leave here tomorrow on a six-day visit to Australia and the Philippines on his first overseas visit after recovering from Covid-19.
During his 10-13 February visit to Australia at the invitation of his counterpart Marise Payne, Jaishankar will participate in the 4th Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting on 11 February in Melbourne, along with the foreign ministers of Australia, Japan, and the United States.
”It will be an opportunity for the ministers to follow up on their virtual meeting held in February 2021 and exchange views on regional strategic issues given their shared vision of a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said today.
The four ministers will review ongoing Quad cooperation and build on the positive and constructive agenda announced by their leaders at the two summits in 2021, to address contemporary challenges such as the Covid pandemic, supply chains, critical technologies, climate change, infrastructure, etc.
Jaishankar and his Australian counterpart will co-chair the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue on 12 February. They will review the progress of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and discuss bilateral, multilateral, and regional issues of mutual interest.
On the same day, Jaishankar will co-chair the inaugural Foreign Ministers’ Cyber Framework Dialogue (FMCFD) with the Australian foreign minister. The two ministers will assess 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 Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Meetings for Jaishankar are also scheduled with Australian political leaders, academics, and businesses, as well as the Indian diaspora and students.
The Indian minister would be in the Philippines from 13-15 February on his first visit to the Southeast Asian nation. This comes close on the heels of the Philippines signing a $ 375 million deal with India for the purchase of BrahMos missiles.
Jaishankar will hold talks with his counterpart Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines. The two ministers will review developments in bilateral relations since the meeting of the Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation that they co-chaired in the virtual format in November 2020. Regional and international issues of mutual interest would also be discussed.
In addition to other meetings with the political leadership in the Philippines, Jaishankar would interact with the Indian community in Manila during his visit.
The visit is expected to impart further momentum to bilateral relations with our key partners in the Indo-Pacific, Australia, and the Philippines, which is also a leading member of ASEAN.