Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday met his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison here ahead of the first in-person Quad meeting to be hosted by US President Joe Biden. Modi’s meeting with Morrison was the first between the two leaders after Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom launched a trilateral security alliance, AUKUS, primarily to counter the hegemonic aspirations of China in the Indo-Pacific region.
During the meeting, both leaders noted the regular high-level engagements between India and Australia, including the recently held first India-Australia foreign and defence ministers’ 2+2 dialogue. “Great to meet with my good friend and a great friend of Australia, Indian PM Narendra Modi, during my visit to the US. A wide-ranging and productive discussion ahead of the first in-person Quad meeting as we look to further deepen the partnership between our two countries,” Australian PM Scott Morrison said in a tweet. Both leaders have met a number of times on the sidelines of various international conferences. The meeting between PM Modi and Morrison came a week after they spoke over phone and reviewed the rapid progress in the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, including through the recent ‘two-plus-two’ dialogue, and exchanged views on regional developments and the forthcoming Quad meeting.
Both leaders have met a number of times on the sidelines of various international conferences. Earlier, PM Morrison had also called PM Modi to brief him about the plan to go ahead with the Australia, UK and US (AUKUS) alliance. The meeting assumes significance as External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on September 11 held the ‘two-plus-two’ talks in New Delhi with their Australian counterparts Marise Payne and Peter Dutton.