Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister, Richard Marles, who reached India for 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, interacted with the young cricket players and also played ‘gully’ cricket on the premises of Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi on Monday. Marles, who witnessed the historic India-Australia Cricket World Cup in Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahemadabad, was joined by the 14-18-year-old young cricket players on the stadium premises.
Besides, playing cricket, Marles also took bites of some of the street food including Ram Laddoo and lemon juice where he got his first-hand experience of using a digital payment interface to pay for the street food.
Taking to social media, Marles expressed happiness and said he donated cricket kits to the young players in a vow to boost the relations between the two nations. “Playing gully cricket with some budding legends of the game in New Delhi today, where it was my honour to donate cricket equipment on behalf of Australia,” he wrote on X. “India and Australia relationship has evolved in so many ways, our shared history & love for this sport underpins our close partnership,” he added.
Earlier today, Marles, who is also the Defence Minister visited the National War Memorial along with Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong and laid a wreath at the Memorial in Delhi. The two Australian leaders will co-chair the India-Australia 2+2 dialogue with their Indian counterparts, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
Earlier, Marles had said that “India is a top-tier security partner for Australia and our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is one of practical, tangible actions that directly benefit the Indo-Pacific region”.
Further noting that this year has seen a number of firsts in the India-Australia defence relationship, including an Indian submarine visit to Perth and Australia’s hosting of Exercise Malabar, Marles added that all this demonstrates the growing closeness of both nation’s defence and security partnerships, according to the Australian Foreign Ministry. “Our cooperation with India is at the heart of Australia’s approach to ensuring the Indo-Pacific remains open, inclusive and resilient,” he added.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Wong stated that the India-Australia partnership is central to the stability and prosperity of our shared region. “Along with our deepening defence and security cooperation, Australia is committed to partnering with India more closely for the benefit of our region, in the Indian Ocean, in Southeast Asia and in the Pacific,” she emphasised.
Moreover, the 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is a cornerstone of the India-Australia relationship and an opportunity to progress in working together to shape the type of region they want.
The second India-Australia 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue will be held in the national capital on Monday during which a wide range of strategic, defence and security issues are expected to be discussed between the two countries, an official statement said.
(With inputs from agency)