In a meeting between PM Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Sydney, the leaders reaffirmed their bilateral solid partnership and mutual commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region. The meeting was a follow-up to the March Australia-India Annual Leaders’ Summit. It was built on a shared vision for a secure, stable, prosperous region based on shared interests and values.
The two leaders also discussed the importance of deepening trade and economic cooperation. They agreed on the need to strengthen global multilateral institutions, such as the WTO, and to work together to tackle global challenges, including climate change, terrorism, and cyber security. They reaffirmed the importance of an inclusive and open Indo-Pacific based on freedom, mutual respect, and the rule of law. They welcomed the rebirth of the Quadrilateral Strategic Dialogue (QUAD) and its new goals. The rebirth of the QUAD comes at a time when both Australia and India are increasingly concerned about China’s rise and its attempts to encircle them through its ‘String of Pearls’ strategy.
The leaders reiterated their support for an effective QUAD to serve as the foundation of a more robust and effective international response to regional and global threats. They also welcomed the relaunch of the India-Australia Joint Working Group on Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific Region. They called for further intensification of cooperation between the two countries in the region.
Both leaders reaffirmed the need for reform of the United Nations Security Council, particularly veto privileges. They expressed concern at the current lack of transparency and accountability in the Council and the disproportionate influence of certain permanent members over other member states, as reflected by the fact that there are currently only four permanent seats on the Council. They called for a wider distribution of Security Council membership, including more excellent permanent and non-permanent representation for Africa, Latin America, and Asia.
They supported the call for creating an Electoral College of the Security Council to replace the current appointment process. They also called for establishing a specialized sanctions committee to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and for further progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals.
Wong urged all United Nations General Assembly members to support the Security Council reform efforts, particularly the call for a larger voting pool of permanent member states. She said that any further expansion of the Council must be based on criteria agreed by all members and should include India and Japan, Australia’s Quad partners. She also emphasized the need to end Russia’s abuse of its Security Council veto power during Ukraine’s illegal and immoral invasion of its territory.