New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI) External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will begin a six-day visit to Australia and the Philippines beginning Thursday.
His visit to Australia from February 10 to 13 will be his first trip to that country as external affairs minister.
The visit to the Philippines from February 13 to 15 comes over two weeks after the Southeast Asian country signed a USD 375 million deal (one million is equal to Rs 10 lakh) with India to buy three batteries of the BrahMos cruise missile.
Announcing the two-nation visit by Jaishankar, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said he will participate in the fourth Quad foreign ministers’ meeting on February 11 in Melbourne along with his counterparts from Australia, Japan and the US.
The MEA said it will be an opportunity for the ministers to follow up on their virtual meeting held in February last year and exchange views on regional strategic issues given their shared vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.
“The ministers will review ongoing Quad cooperation and build on the positive and constructive agenda announced by the leaders at the two summits in 2021, to address contemporary challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chains, critical technologies, climate change, infrastructure etc,” it said in a statement.
Besides attending the Quad meeting, Jaishankar will also co-chair with his Australian counterpart Marise Payne the 12th India-Australia foreign ministers’ framework dialogue on February 12.
“The ministers will review the progress of the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership and discuss bilateral, multilateral and regional issues of mutual interest,” the MEA said.
On the same day, he will also co-chair with Payne the inaugural foreign ministers’ cyber framework dialogue.
The MEA said the 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.
Jaishankar is also scheduled to meet Australian political leaders, academics and businesses leaders as well as the Indian diaspora and students.
After the Australian tour, Jaishankar will travel to the Philippines on a three-day visit. It will be also his first visit to that country as external affairs minister.
“The external affairs minister will hold talks with his counterpart, Teodoro L Locsin Jr., Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines,” the MEA said.
It said the 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.
The MEA said regional and international issues of mutual interest would also be discussed.
“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,” the MEA said. PTI MPB DV DV
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Source: The Print