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SOURCE: ANI

The challenges to the peace, stability and prosperity in the region were discussed between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said on whether China was a part of their talks.

“The challenges to the peace and stability and prosperity in the region were also discussed and how India and Australia, being strategic partners, can work together not just to accentuate and amplify and harness the opportunities but also take active steps to mitigate the challenges that arise in the region,” Mr Kwatra said during the special briefing on PM Modi’s third-day in Australia.

Talking about other issues that were discussed between the two PMs, Mr Kwatra said, “The discussions between the two prime ministers there were also areas of regional significance that came up for discussion, Quad (comprising of Australia, India, Japan and US), where they spoke about free, open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific, and discussions in the QUAD and the Indo-Pacific and discussions in the quad realm and indo-pacific realm and how India and Australia can work together to shape a positive agenda in Quad and indo-pacific was discussed naturally.”

China’s military expansion in the South China Sea and the East China Sea has become a major concern for everyone.

Even in the Quad joint statement, the member countries reaffirmed their steadfast commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific that is inclusive and resilient.

“As Indo-Pacific countries, Quad partners are deeply invested in our region’s success. Harnessing our collective strengths and resources, we are supporting the region’s development, stability, and prosperity through the Quad’s positive, practical agenda. Our work is guided by regional countries’ priorities and responds to the region’s needs. We are and will continue to be transparent in what we do. Respect for the leadership of regional institutions, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), is and will remain at the centre of the Quad’s efforts,” read the statement.

“Today we reaffirm our consistent and unwavering support for ASEAN centrality and unity. We are committed to ensuring the Quad’s work is aligned with ASEAN’s principles and priorities and continues to support the implementation of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). We underscore ASEAN’s regional leadership role, including in the East Asia Summit, the region’s premier leader-led forum for strategic dialogue, and the ASEAN Regional Forum. We strongly support Indonesia’s 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship and its Chair theme “ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth”. We will continue to strengthen our respective relationships with ASEAN and seek opportunities for greater Quad collaboration in support of the AOIP,” read the statement.