External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne in their first India-France-Australia Trilateral Ministerial Dialogue on the sidelines of the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on May 4, reaffirmed their support for the rule of law, freedom of navigation and overflight, peaceful resolution of disputes, democratic values, and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In their joint statement they reaffirmed their commitment to ASEAN’s centrality and their support for ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, and noted its complementarity with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
They welcomed the French decision to join IPOI by taking lead on the Marine Resources pillar and acknowledged Australia’s lead on its Marine Ecology pillar.
India thanked France and Australia for their assistance in India’s response to the pandemic. The Ministers agreed to enhance trilateral cooperation in confronting the challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
They called for fair and equitable access to high quality, safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines and treatments globally, which will be a central factor in our collective recovery, especially for those who may be in vulnerable situations, including women and girls, in the most vulnerable countries, particularly in Africa.
They recognized India’s positive contribution to supply COVID-19 vaccines to various countries globally, both bilaterally and via multilateral mechanisms (COVAX) which France and Australia fully support and contribute to.
During the Ministerial Dialogue, the three countries shared mutual concerns regarding the strategic, security, economic and environmental challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
They pledged to work together, and acknowledged the important role of regional forums such as the Indian Ocean Rim Association, the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, ASEAN, the East Asia Summit and the Pacific Islands Forum.
They discussed the current situation in Myanmar. The Ministers affirmed their commitment to addressing climate change and to expand cooperation through multilateral mechanisms such as the International Solar Alliance, particularly in perspective of the COP26.
They underscored their commitment to developing sustainable, resilient and quality infrastructure in the Indo-Pacific region and agreed to work together through the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in advancing this objective.
India, France and Australia undertook to work together with a range of partners to promote the rules-based maritime order based on respect for sovereignty and international law. They affirmed the centrality of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and that UNCLOS provides the legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas.
The three Ministers reviewed the outcomes of the first India-France-Australia Foreign Secretaries’ Trilateral Dialogue held on 9 September 2020, which have progressed on three pillars: maritime safety and security, marine and environmental cooperation, and multilateral engagement.
The Ministers agreed to deepen cooperation on maritime safety and security in the Indo-Pacific region. In this regard, the three Ministers welcomed the trilateral information sharing workshop on maritime domain awareness held at the Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) where both France and Australia have assigned a liaison officer, and encouraged information sharing between humanitarian and disaster relief agencies of the three countries.