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Subject of AUKUS came up during bilateral with PM Modi: Foreign Secretary

Subject of AUKUS came up during bilateral with PM Modi: Foreign Secretary

Washington, Sep 24 (UNI) The subject of AUKUS, the new trilateral security partnership between Australia, the UK and US, did feature briefly during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bilateral meeting with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison here, officials said.

“Prime Minister Morrison did briefly mention, you know, the rationale from the Australian side, in seeking to initiate the AUKUS alliance. He felt that the technology that they received was appropriate and there was a brief discussion in that regard,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said at a media briefing after the first in-person meeting between the two leaders on Thursday.

In fact, the Australian PM had called up Prime Minister Modi before the new security partnership was announced last week. Under the AUKUS partnership, Canberra is to acquire a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the US and UK.
The announcement of the partnership, which is focused on the Indo-Pacific region, came just ahead of the first in-person Quad Leaders' Summit being held on Friday.

Prime Minister Modi tweeted on his meeting with Morrison:

“It is always wonderful to interact with my good friend, PM
"We had wide-ranging deliberations on strengthening cooperation in the fields of commerce, trade, energy and more," he posted.

During the meeting, the Prime Ministers discussed a broad range of issues of bilateral, regional and global importance. They noted with satisfaction the regular high-level engagements between the two countries, including the recently held first India-Australia Foreign and Defence Ministers’ 2+2 Dialogue, said the Foreign Secretary.

They reviewed progress since the last Leader's Summit that was held virtually in June 2020 and they resolved to continue their close partnership and cooperation for the mutual well-being of both sides.

“I must say, the Prime Minister mentioned that the Indian community was very well looked after during the Covid crisis in Australia. He specially mentioned that to the Prime Minister, and I think there was an appreciation of the contribution of the Indian diaspora in Australia,” Shringla added.

A Ministry of External Affairs statement on the meeting, said that the Prime Ministers reviewed the progress achieved since the Leaders’ Virtual Summit in June 2020 under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and resolved to continue close cooperation for mutual well-being and towards advancing their shared objective of an open, free, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.

The two sides also expressed satisfaction at the ongoing negotiations on a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

In that context, they welcomed the visit to India by former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as PM Scott Morrison’s Special Trade Envoy for India, and noted the commitment of both sides to achieve an early harvest announcement on an interim agreement by December 2021.

The two Prime Ministers underlined the need for the international community to address the issue of Climate Change on an urgent basis. Both leaders also discussed possibilities of providing clean technologies.

The Prime Ministers agreed on the need to work closer together to overcome the challenges in the post-pandemic world, especially to enhance supply chain resilience.

Both lauded the immense contribution of the Indian diaspora to Australia’s economy and society, and discussed ways to enhance people to people ties.

Prime Minister Modi renewed his invitation to Prime Minister Morrison to visit India.

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