Australia to host Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February 2024: Foreign Minister Penny Wong

Nov 21, 2023

New Delhi [India], November 21 : Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong said her country will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February next year.
She said the conference will be an opportunity to discuss practical solutions for the key challenges facing the region.
"I'm pleased to confirm today that Australia will host the Indian Ocean Conference in Perth in February of next year. It's an opportunity to discuss practical solutions for the key challenges facing the region. And I also look forward to welcoming Jaishankar to Australia," the Australian Foreign Minister said during a press briefing on the India-Australia Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue alongside External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar.
The Indian Ocean Conference started in 2016 in Singapore featuring 30 countries.
In the last six years, the Conference has emerged as a consultative forum for countries in the region over regional affairs.
The Indian Ocean Conference works towards bringing critical states and principal maritime partners of the region together on a common platform to deliberate upon the prospects of regional cooperation for Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
Wong on Tuesday met Jaishankar in New Delhi for the Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue.
The two leaders held discussions on advancing the strategic partnership between the two countries.
Wong said at the press briefing, "Today, we did discuss many issues. We discussed, amongst other things, our work in the Indian Ocean region, how we can collaborate on shared challenges climate change, maritime security, the health of the oceans."
She said India, Australia are at either end of the Indian Ocean, and "we have the largest Indian Ocean coastlines of any nation. So we share a lot. So it's central, defining both of us, and it brings us together."
She said the two countries are working hard to expand their cooperation, "including through a new 1.5-track strategic dialogue".
The Australian Foreign Minister said, "Today, I also announced an Australia-Indian Audio Visual Coproduction agreement, which has come into force, which we are very interested in and which will, we hope, open up new markets and allow more Australian and Bollywood films and series to reach new audiences."
"We are, as Jaishankar said, we are comprehensive strategic partners. We're also Quad partners. We share traditions. We also share an interest in the sort of region we live in, an Indo-Pacific that is peaceful, stable and prosperous, in which sovereignty is respected and where all countries can benefit from a strategic equilibrium," she said.
Wong added, "We can only build and sustain this region by working with others. And I can't emphasise sufficiently how important we see India to that project."
She added, "I thank Jaishankar for his kind comments about our support for the G20. We certainly did want to ensure we worked with India as much as we were able to make it a successful G20 year. India is also hosting the Quad meeting early next year, so we equally would want to work with India to ensure that that is as successful and positive as it can be."
On Australia-China relations, Wong said, "...China is a country with whom we will continue to engage. In the way which we describe, - we will cooperate where we can, we will disagree where we must and we will engage in our national interests."
Penny Wong recently said that Canberra deeply values its bilateral relationship with New Delhi, adding that it is "crucial to a region" where sovereignty is respected.
In her opening remarks at the India-Australia 2+2 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue in New Delhi, Wong noted that the two nations have done a lot together bilaterally and hope to do more. She recalled Prime Minister Narendra Modi's State visit to Australia.
"We've done a lot of work together bilaterally and we hope to do more again today. I think what I would emphasise is that we value deeply the bilateral relationship, economic ties, two-way trade and investment, and the people-to-people links the climate initiatives particularly ... that we're working on together. But to again underline what we all know which is this is a partnership which is consequential for us but it is crucial for our region and we see you India as central, crucial to the sort of region we continue to work for peaceful, stable, prosperous where sovereignty is respected and we look forward in this discussion to going further on the ways in which we can both work to deliver that," she added.
The India-Australia 2+2 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue was co-chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Richard Marles and Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Penny Wong.