He made these remarks at a press conference with Australian counterpart Penny Wong after both ministers held the 13th Framework Dialogue of Foreign Ministers (FMFD).
“We have a long-standing relationship with Russia and this relationship has served our interests well. We have a significant stockpile of weapons of Soviet and Russian origin,” Jaishankar said. weapons to India for decades and in fact we see the military dictatorship next to us as a preferred partner.”
“In international politics, we make decisions that reflect our future interests and current situation,” Jaishankar added.
Jaishankar held extensive discussions on Monday about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and its implications for the Indo-Pacific region with his Australian counterpart.
“We discussed Ukraine and its impact in the Indo-Pacific region, progress in Quad, G-20 issues, our trilateral, some things related to the IAEA and the sustainable development goals of climate finance.”
“We have been very clear against the conflict in Ukraine. We believe it serves the interests of no one, the participants or the international community. As the country of the global south, we have seen firsthand how much it has affected low-income countries As Prime Minister Modi said in Samarkand, this is not an era of war,” the minister said.
Jaishankar said the discussions held were supported by the fact that “as liberal democracies, both countries believe in the rules-based international order, in freedom of navigation in international waters, in promoting growth, connectivity and security for all and ensuring ensure that countries have sovereign choices in matters that are important today.”
Among the bilateral issues, Jaishankar said the talks were to see how India and Australia can form a better region. “We talked about a lot of things – trade, economics, education, defense and security, clean energy and about the many agreements and understandings that we have made. It is in our mutual interest to expand the diplomatic footprint in each other’s countries.”
“There are a number of issues where we see great potential in terms of bringing higher quality to our bilateral partnership,” he added.
First, said Jaishankar, the proposal under discussion is “an understanding of the mobility of talent and skills and how we can grow education and what we could do, taking into account India’s new education policies.”
It noted progress in the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement finalized earlier this year. “Steps are being taken to change the double taxation agreement as that has been a challenge for the growth of our business.”
In response to a question about the ‘Khalistani issue’, Jaishankar said: “From time to time we have engaged the Canadian government on this issue and have signaled the need to ensure that freedoms in a democratic society are not abused by forces that actually advocate violence and bigotry.”
Meanwhile, Penny Wong stressed that India and Australia are comprehensive strategic partners. India and Australia recognize that the Indo-Pacific region is undergoing reform and it is in the interest of both countries to navigate this together, Australian Foreign Secretary Penny Wong said.
Wong said both India and Australia “don’t want any country to dominate and no country to be dominated.”
“We both recognize that our region is undergoing both economic and strategic reform. Our partnership is proof that we understand that this period of change is best navigated together,” she added.
Underlining the importance of a partnership with India, Wong said: “For Australia, this partnership (India) is a critical part of shaping the region we want.”
She said both countries have agreed to continue to deepen the relationship, including diplomatic footprints in each other’s countries. “We plan to open a consulate-general in Bengaluru sometime next year, at the heart of India’s tech industry,” she added.
Jaishankar arrived in Canberra on Monday for a “Tiranga welcome”.
“Arrived in Canberra for a Tiranga welcome. So happy to see Australia’s old Parliament building in our national colours,” Jaishankar tweeted. In Australia, Jaishankar visits Canberra and Sydney.
It is EAM’s second visit to Australia this year, the first being in February 2022 to attend the Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne. The Foreign Secretary will also meet with Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles.