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Ministers to meet Commonwealth heads

richard marles chogm
Defence Minister Richard Marles will attend CHOGM at the end of the week after visiting India. Photo: AAP
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Australia will seek to improve its bilateral relationships with Asian and Pacific nations as more than 50 heads of Commonwealth states gather in Rwanda.

The Albanese government has been seeking opportunities to promote its 2030 emissions reduction target on the global stage having submitted an updated climate policy to the UN.

International Development Minister Pat Conroy will join the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali for a series of forums and ministerial meetings.

Defence Minister Richard Marles will land in Rwanda at the end of the week after visiting India to discuss regional security with Indian counterpart Rajnath Singh ahead of high-level meetings in Kigali on Friday and Saturday.

Mr Marles said he was committed to strengthening Australia’s defence and security cooperation with India as part of the countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership.

“I am looking forward to meeting with my counterpart, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, and holding our first bilateral defence ministers’ meeting,” he said.

“Minister Singh has been instrumental in advancing India-Australia defence ties and I look forward to working with him to enhance the defence pillar of our comprehensive strategic partnership.”

CHOGM will provide the Deputy Prime Minister an opportunity to speak with Pacific partners, with nine Pacific island nations involved in the meeting.

India, Malaysia, and Singapore will also be there, as Australia works to increase its presence in Asia, most recently through meetings orchestrated by Trade Minister Don Farrell at a World Trade Organisation Conference.

CHOGM is scheduled for every two years, but the 2020 meeting was postponed twice due to the pandemic. This week’s meeting will be the first since Britain hosted in 2018.

-AAP