In a significant development, the long-awaited physical tripartite between Indian, Australian and French foreign ministers took place in London on Tuesday. This is the first trilateral meeting between Foreign Minister S Jaishankar, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Australian Foreign Minister Marijne Payne, which took place during the G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting in London.
The G7 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting is the first face-to-face meeting of the Group’s Foreign Minister in the midst of an epidemic. The meeting will take place after a period of more than two and a half years and the last meeting of the G7 FM was held in France in 2019. The members of the G7 are: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and United States. For this year’s G7 FM meeting, the UK invited the Secretary-General of India, Australia, South Korea, South Africa and the Association of South Asian Nations-Est (ASEAN)
The France, India and Australia tripartite was launched in September 2020 at the level of foreign ministers with three general priorities: maritime security, environment and multilateralism. Since then senior official meetings have been held on every track and it has now been taken up to the ministerial level. Within one year of its creation, the trilateral system is elevated to the ministerial level.
The objective of 3 countries is as expected in the Indo-Pacific region as well. France and Australia are part of the India-Pacific Oceanographic Initiative (IPOI) announced by India in 2019. In fact, France’s membership of the IPOI was announced during the French Foreign Minister’s visit to New Delhi last month. The naval forces of the 3 countries have also trained in different formats, from bilateral Indo-French Varuna naval exercises to Malabar naval exercises with participation from the Quad countries – India, Japan, Australia and the United States or La Peruve – France. Naval force with Quad member countries.
Earlier this year, Tantra met at the level of senior executives. The Indian side was led by Sandeep Chakraborty, Deputy Secretary (Western Europe) of the Ministry of External Affairs, while the French side was led by Bertrand Loretholari, Director (Asia and Oceania) and the Australian side was led by First Assistant Mr Gary Cowan. Secretary (North and South Asia Division) and John Gerring, First Deputy Secretary (Europe and Latin America Division).