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Cricket Diplomacy: Aus Deputy PM to attend WC final

Source: PTI
November 18, 2023 16:33 IST
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Richard Marles

Photograph: Kind Courtesy Richard Marles/X

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles will travel to Ahmedabad to witness the summit clash between India and Australia at the cricket World Cup on Sunday.

Marles, who is also Australia's defence minister, and Foreign Minister Penny Wong are visiting India to co-chair the second edition of the "2+2" ministerial dialogue along with their Indian counterparts on Monday.


The defence ministry on Saturday announced the Australian deputy prime minister's two-day visit to India from November 19-20 primarily for the "2+2" dialogue that is expected to focus on boosting the overall defence and strategic ties between the two countries.

It said Marles will also attend the cricket World Cup final between India and Australia on Sunday.

"Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles will visit India from November 19 to 20 to co-chair the second India-Australia 2+2 ministerial dialogue with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh," the ministry said in a statement.

The Indian delegation at the "2+2" dialogue will be led by Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

"During his visit, Minister Marles will also attend the Cricket World Cup final between India and Australia in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on November 19," the ministry said.

It said Singh and Marles will hold a bilateral meeting on November 20 that would be followed by the "2+2" dialogue.

"India and Australia are pursuing a comprehensive strategic partnership and the visit of Minister Marles is expected to give further impetus to the collaboration as well as bilateral defence cooperation," the defence ministry said.

"The two countries are expected to discuss wide-ranging issues of mutual interest during the 2+2 dialogue and the bilateral defence ministers' meeting," it added.

The two sides are expected to focus extensively on further ramping up the overall defence and security ties and boost the strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region during the "2+2"dialogue.

Both Australia and India are part of the Quad or Quadrilateral coalition that is focused on working towards ensuring a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

The other two members of the Quad are the United States and Japan.

The situation in West Asia in view of the Hamas-Israel conflict, China's increasing military muscle flexing in the Indo-Pacific and issues relating to regional security is expected to figure in the talks, people familiar with the preparation for the dialogue said.

The inaugural "2+2" ministerial dialogue between India and Australia took place in September 2021.

India has such a framework for talks with a very few countries, including the US and Japan.

The latest edition of the India-US foreign and defence ministerial dialogue took place in New Delhi on November 10.

The bilateral defence and strategic ties between India and Australia are on an upward trajectory in the last few years.

In June 2020, the two countries elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows the militaries of the two countries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of the overall defence cooperation. 

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