India’s East Asia relations in 2022 followed the arc articulated by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s address at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand in August. He recalled three decades ago India made a “strategic correction to the East…[o]riginally…contemplated as an economic measure, with trade and investment at its core” and mostly focused on ASEAN. He said the geography, concepts, and assessments of India’s Indo-Pacific vision have expanded “to cover Japan, Korea and China, and in due course, Australia as also other areas of Pacific Islands…[and] facets of cooperation also increased…now cover[ing] connectivity in various forms, people-to-people ties and more recently, defense and security.” And while dutifully referencing India’s Indo-Pacific policies including Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) and the Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI), he gave the most attention to the revitalized Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (“Quad”). The highlights of India in East Asia in 2022 were numerous Quad meetings, the inaugural India-ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting, the second India-Japan 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue, the Australian deputy prime minister and minister for defense’s visit to India, and India’s defense minister visits to Vietnam and Mongolia. Defense and security engagement included numerous exercises, defense dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, and navy ship visits.
India & The Quad
2022 was a very active year for the Quad with two leaders’ summits and two foreign ministers’ meetings. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an opening statement at the May leaders’ summit in Tokyo stated that the Quad’s scope has become broader and its format is more effective, and it is giving new energy and enthusiasm to “the democratic forces giving a boost to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.” This, he said, will further strengthen the image of the Quad as a “Force for Good.” In August, External Affairs Minister (EAM) Jaishankar, delivering an address on “India’s Indo-Pacific Vision” in Bangkok, called the Quad the “most prominent plurilateral platform that addresses contemporary challenges and opportunities in the Indo-Pacific” and asserted that the “role of the Quad in the delivery of public goods can also be very significant.” He went on:
“We are confident that the entire Indo-Pacific region will benefit from its activities. And that is validated by the growing recognition of its importance in the international community. If there are reservations in any quarter, these stem from a desire to exercise a veto on the choices of others. And possibly a unilateralist opposition to a collective and cooperative endeavors.”
The oblique, apparent reference to China’s opposition to the Quad and framing of the Quad as a “public good” is aligned with other recent descriptions of the US-India partnership as a “Partnership for Global Good” and Modi describing the Quad as a “Force for Good”—neither formulation used by the Quad itself in official statements.
In September, on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York, both a Quad leaders’ meeting and a Quad foreign ministers meeting took place. At the latter, Quad countries promised “to deepen Quad multilateral cooperation in support of advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient” and agreed their “vision is for a region where the rules-based international order is upheld, and where the principles of freedom, rule of law, democratic values, peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereignty, and territorial integrity are respected.” They singled out the maritime basis of their partnership in expressing the “conviction that international law, peace, and security in the maritime domain underpins the development and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific” and strong opposition to “any unilateral actions that seek to change the status quo or increase tensions in the region.”
Quad countries also signed guidelines to operationalize the Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Partnership for the Indo-Pacific, looked forward to the counter-terrorism tabletop exercise being hosted by Australia later in 2022, and issued a statement on ransomware which calls on states to take reasonable steps to address ransomware operations emanating from their territory, and reiterated the Quad’s commitment to supporting regional partners’ efforts to improve their maritime security and domain awareness. They also reiterated a commitment to previously announced initiatives on health security, climate change, infrastructure, peaceful use of outer space, critical and emerging technologies, and cybersecurity.
India not only participated actively in all Quad meetings but raised its profile via the prime minister’s and foreign minister’s remarks and used Quad gatherings to conduct bilateral relationships with the US, Japan, and Australia.
India’s bilateral relations with Australia were very active during the year. India’s EAM visited Australia for the first time since assuming office in February 2022 to co-chair the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue with his counterpart, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. They launched the inaugural Foreign Ministers’ Cyber Framework Dialogue (FMCFD) and assessed the progress made toward implementation of the India-Australia Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation and the subsidiary Plan of Action which they signed in June 2020. Jaishankar told a press briefing that India “warmly welcome[s] the announcements made by [Foreign Minister Payne], by the Australian government on enhancing engagement in the North-East Indian Ocean region…” He specifically flagged security cooperation saying, “our [defense] and security cooperation … reflects our growing strategic convergence.”
A virtual summit between Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on March 20 led to the announcement of agreements. These included the establishment of an annual summit, a Young Defense Officers’ Exchange Program, an MoU on co-investment in Australian critical minerals projects, and cooperation via matching funds for Pacific Islands countries for the Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The joint statement issued following the summit was diplomatically effusive about cooperation within the Quad but regarding AUKUS the statement simply said “Prime Minister Modi appreciated the briefing by Prime Minister Morrison on the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) partnership. [The] Leaders recognized Australia’s commitment to not develop nuclear weapons and to uphold the highest standards of nonproliferation.” In keeping with announcements of enhanced cooperation on the Pacific Islands, an interesting element of the joint statement was mutual recognition and cooperation regarding “India’s assistance to Tonga in the wake of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcanic eruption and tsunami and to Kiribati in response to the COVID-19 outbreak… [and] Australia’s role in supporting the delivery of Indian HADR to these Pacific partners.”
Modi had subsequent bilateral meetings with newly elected Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Japan during a visit to attend the in-person Quad Leaders’ Summit on May 24 and again in September when the two met for another Quad Leaders’ Summit on the sidelines of the UNGA in New York. After the May interaction PM Modi tweeted that “India’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia is robust and benefits not only the people of our nations but also the world…We discussed ways to add even greater momentum across key sectors.”
Another important event was Australia’s deputy prime minister and defense minister Richard Marles’ visit to India and meeting with counterpart Defense Minister Singh in June to review defense cooperation and explore new initiatives to strengthen bilateral engagements. A joint press statement at the conclusion of discussions highlighted “the growing diversity and frequency of defense exercises and exchanges” and efforts to build upon operational engagements through the India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement, “give fillip to the India-Australia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Defense Research and Materiel Cooperation…which is a crucial mechanism for boosting ties between defense industries, increase the resilience of supply chains and deliver capabilities to their respective defense forces.”
Indian EAM Jaishankar went to Australia again in October for the 13th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue (FMFD) with counterpart Penny Wong and additional meetings including with the defense minister. The EAM described the interactions with Australia as “a very, very useful, very productive, very comfortable…” though he said there is “great potential in terms of giving a greater, I would say, quality [emphasis added] to our bilateral partnership.” And while noting the numerous times he had interacted with Wong and the fact that six of his Cabinet colleagues had visited Australia in 2022, he noted that “[w]e are, you know, looking at finding ways of sort of taking it to higher levels.” In assessing the bases of the relationship, EAM Jaishankar noted that “I think the underpinning of that really is that, as liberal democracies, we both believe in a rules-based international order, in freedom of navigation in international waters, in promoting connectivity, growth and security for all, and as [Foreign Minister] Wong said, in ensuring that countries make sovereign choices on matters that are important to them.”
The final high-level exchange occurred in November when Modi and Albanese hold a bilateral meeting on the G20 sidelines during which they “expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of relations between the two countries under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the high-level interactions taking place on a regular basis between India and Australia.”
Other India-Australia engagements during the year included numerous exchanges of military service chiefs, navy-to-navy staff talks, participation of an Indian P8I aircraft in Exercise Kakadu, a visit by India’s Chief of Naval Staff, conduct of Coordinated Operations in Anti-Submarine Warfare and surface surveillance off Darwin by India and Australia’s Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA), and the India-Australia bilateral training exercise “AUSTRA HIND 22” between contingents of the Indian Army and the Australian Army.
All in all, 2022 saw a robust and wide range of India-Australia relations.
The India-Japan bilateral relationship was also active during the year, including one visit by the Japanese prime minister to India and two by India’s prime minister to Japan, plus various interactions during the year on the sidelines of the Quad and other multilateral gatherings. In March, Prime Minister Kishida visited India for the 14th annual India-Japan Summit in March 2022—the first since October 2018—to advance the “Special Strategic and Global Partnership.” Prime Minister Modi gave a press statement which made no reference to Japan-India security ties, instead focusing on commercial/economic issues and cooperation on energy. Of the MoUs and agreements announced during the visit, most focused on commercial and economic development and only one was security related—on cooperation in cybersecurity. The joint statement issued by the two leaders opened with security and defense cooperation, noting that they “appreciated the significant progress made in security and defense cooperation and reaffirmed their desire to further deepen it.” However, the joint statement made no mention of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the previous month.
Prime Minister Modi traveled to Tokyo in May where the two sides “agreed to further enhance bilateral security and [defense] cooperation, including in the area of [defense] manufacturing … [and]…concurred that the next 2+2 Foreign and [Defense] Ministerial Meeting may be held in Japan at the earliest.” A focus of Modi’s Japan visit was commercial relations “to realize JPY 5 trillion [approximately $40 to $42 billion] in public and private investment and financing over the next five years from Japan to India” as agreed during the India-Japan summit in March.
In September the two countries held the second iteration of the 2+2 talks (the inaugural 2+2 took place in 2019) with EAM Jaishankar and Defense Minister Singh meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu. The respective ministers also held separately a Defense Ministerial Meeting and Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue. The 2 + 2 joint statement described discussion on regional and global issues as “frank and fruitful” and highlighted key results including dialogues on disarmament and non-proliferation, maritime affairs, space, and cyber, Japan’s participation (for the first time) in the multilateral exercise MILAN, and the operationalization of the Agreement Concerning Reciprocal Provision of Supplies and Services ….” They also “concurred to launch the Joint Service Staff Talks between the Japan Joint Staff and the Indian Integrated [Defense] Staff’ and “noted with pleasure that the air services of the two countries are working closely for the early conduct of inaugural India-Japan fighter exercise.”EAM Jaishankar in his opening remarks noted “in recent times very serious developments, especially since our last meeting in 2019” and focused only on COVID and its impacts on food and energy security—with no reference to Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. An elliptical reference to the war in Europe may have been this call: “As we face these challenges, it is important we work collectively to find common solutions through the path of dialogue and diplomacy.” In post 2+2 remarks, the EAM noted that “Our consultations in various formats have dwelt on the imperative of economic security. We are also working together on cyber security, 5G deployment and critical and strategic minerals.” He also noted the “…ongoing endeavor to deepen our [defense] exchanges and explore areas for practical cooperation.” EAM Jaishankar acknowledged that while “We have a particular responsibility for ensuring a free, open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific…” the India-Japan “Special Strategic and Global Partnership reflects interests and increasingly our footprint that extend well beyond the immediate region.” India’s defense minister, in his statement, “noted the progress in the military-to-military cooperation and exchanges between the two sides…[and] a common desire to further increase the scope and complexities of our bilateral exercises. We have established staff talks and [h]igh-level dialogue between all the three Services and the Coast Guard. I am glad that we have now agreed on Staff Talks between the Joint Staff of the Japanese Self Defense Forces and the Integrated [Defense] Staff of India. The participation of Japan for the first time in the multilateral exercise MILAN and operationalization of the Reciprocal Provision of Supply and Services Agreement in March this year are milestones in the progress of [defense] cooperation between our Forces. We are happy to note that our Air Forces are working closely for early conduct of the inaugural Air Force fighter exercise.”
“Enhancing the Defense Equipment and Technological Cooperation between India and Japan is one of our key priority areas,” he went on. He also noted “extensive discussions on ways to enhance maritime cooperation including Maritime Domain Awareness” but did not announce any new initiative or specific agreement to do so.
In September, Modi traveled to Japan for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. He held a brief bilateral meeting with Kishida during which they “renewed their commitment towards further strengthening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership, and in working together in the region and in various international groupings and institutions.”
There were no bilateral meetings between senior Indian officials and leaders and their Chinese counterparts in 2022 despite several opportunities to do so on the sidelines of interactions at various multilateral gatherings during the year. For example, on May 19, Jaishankar participated in a virtual meeting of the BRICS foreign ministers chaired by China. And on June 23 the XIV BRICS Summit was held in Beijing at which a 75-point Declaration was issued. Modi attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organizations Leaders Summit in Samarkand on Sept. 16 but did not hold any bilateral talks with his Chinese counterpart. EAM Jaishankar participated in another BRICS foreign ministers meeting on the margins of the UNGA on Sept. 16. And in mid-November at the G20 meeting in Indonesia, Modi and Xi Jinping briefly greeted each other, shook hands, and spoke informally; again, however, there were no bilateral official talks. The November interaction was the first time the two leaders had encountered each other since the border stand-offs throughout much of 2021.
Border management issues continued during the year, however. India’s end-of-year Ministry of Defense report characterized the state of play as follows:
- “With diplomatic and military efforts, effective disengagement with PLA forces was achieved from the area of PP 15 (Eastern Ladakh) in September. This disengagement was carried out almost a year after the previous such disengagement which was effected from Gogra in August 2021. As part of the engagement mechanism, a total of 16 rounds of Corps Commander Level Meetings and 12 related Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination meetings have been held till date and subsequent talks are being scheduled to discuss disengagement in the balance friction areas in Eastern Ladakh.
- “However, on December 9, 2022, PLA troops tried to transgress LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang sector and unilaterally change the status quo. Parliament was told by the Defense Minister that the Chinese attempt was contested by Indian troops in a firm and resolute manner. The ensuing face-off led to a physical scuffle in which the Indian Army bravely prevented the PLA from transgressing into Indian territory and compelled them to return to their posts. The scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides. As a follow-up of the incident, local Commander in the area held a Flag Meeting with his Chinese counterpart on December 11 to discuss the issue in accordance with established mechanisms. The issue was also taken up with the Chinese side through diplomatic channels,” he said.
The bottom line is that India-China relations remained in a deep chill during 2022 with the most pro forma interactions on the sidelines of multilaterals rather than bilateral engagement. Bilateral relations remained focused on border disengagement and fresh incursions.
2022 marked the 30th Anniversary of India-ASEAN Dialogue Relations and on June 16 a Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ took place, leading to a joint statement. In November, on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit (EAS), the 19thIndia-ASEAN Summit was held and led to a joint statement on the new comprehensive strategic partnership but only India’s vice president—accompanied by External Affairs Minister Jaishankar—traveled to the commemorative summit. Other 2022 commemorative events in India-ASEAN relations included the visit of ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly delegation to India in August; the ASEAN-India High Level Conference on Renewable Energy in February; the launch of ASEAN-India Network of Universities in August; the ASEAN-India Artists Camp in October, and the ASEAN-India Defense Ministers’ Informal Meeting.
In addition to engaging ASEAN, India held numerous interactions with ASEAN member countries.
Cambodia as the ASEAN chair in 2022 received notable attention from Indian officials in 2022 out of necessity for multilateral meetings but also on a bilateral basis. Prime Minister Modi had a virtual meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 18 at which they discussed “comprehensively” the bilateral relationship and Hun Sen thanked India for providing 3.25 lakh (hundred thousand) doses of India-manufactured Covishield vaccines under the Quad vaccine initiative. Jaishankar, while on an August visit to Cambodia, participated in the annual ASEAN-India foreign ministers meeting and called on Prime Minister Hun Sen.
India was represented by its vice president for summit meetings in November during which he also called on the King of Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen, and Senate President Say Chhum. A specific hope for cooperation was capacity building and demining. A press briefing noted plans for the deputy commander of the Indian Army to visit Cambodia and an Indian official stated that “defense area is an area in which we want to take our relationship forward, we have also offered Line of Credit to Cambodia and when the visit will happen, there will be a conversation in all these issues, and about Line of Credit [utilization].”
Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Vietnam was flagged as one of the key events of India’s engagement in the region by the Ministry of Defense. He held talks with Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phan Van Giang on the 50th anniversary of India-Vietnam diplomatic relations and 75th anniversary of India’s independence. A Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was announced, and Singh attended a handing over ceremony of 12 High Speed Guard Boats constructed under the government of India’s $100 million Defense Line of Credit to Vietnam. He also visited training institutions at Nha Trang, including the Telecommunication University where an Army Software Park is being established with a $5 million grant from India.
The two countries held a Vietnam-India Bilateral Army Exercise (Vinbax 2022) which highlighted multi-agency humanitarian assistance in disaster relief. An official press release noted that “[w]hat made the exercise unique was the fact that it was the first time ever that the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) was undertaking a Field Training Exercise with any foreign Army. The fact that Vietnam chose India for this honor, speaks volumes about the value the two countries place on their mutual relationship.” There were also Indian Navy ship visits to Ho Chi Minh City.
In January India’s BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL) signed a contract with the Department of National Defense of the Republic of Philippines for the supply of Shore Based Anti-Ship Missile System to the Philippines. A press release declared the “contract is an important step forward for Government of India’s policy of promoting responsible [defense] exports.” The Indian navy ship INS Satpura “on a deployment to the South China Sea (SCS) and West Pacific” in June visited Manila “aimed at strengthening mutual working relationships and interoperability between the Indian Navy and the Philippines Navy.”
India and Malaysia exchanged relatively high-level defense visits during the year. Adm. Tan Sri Mohd Reza Bin Mohd Sany, chief of the Royal Malaysian Navy visited India in August at the invitation of Adm. R Hari Kumar, chief of the Naval Staff, Indian Navy. An official statement said the two sides “identified several new avenues for further strengthening bilateral naval cooperation” and that “[b]ilateral cooperation between the Indian Navy and Royal Malaysian Navy spans across a wide canvass ranging from training to operations” including the exercise Samudra Laksamana in May and Navy to Navy Staff Talks in June. Lt. Gen. BS Raju, vice chief of Army Staff (VCOAS) made a visit to Malaysia in December. A press release reported that “[d]uring the visit, the Vice Chief will take forward the excellent defense cooperation between India and Malaysia through multiple meetings with senior military and civilian leadership of the country.” The two countries also conducted a bilateral air force exercise named “Udarashakti.”
As the review of India’s relations with East Asia in 2022 highlights, an ongoing “strategic correction to the East” is visible via a range of multilateral and bilateral mechanisms as well as the growth of defense and security-related engagements with numerous countries going well beyond Southeast Asia. Increasing interaction in the East is directly integrated with India’s relations with the United States. Though compared to other major powers India may be a modest Indo-Pacific interlocutor in overall defense and security terms, and a somewhat marginal player when it comes to formal membership in regional trade agreements, a “whole of India government” engagement with the Indo-Pacific region is now institutionalized. India’s engagement in the Quad, and the Quad’s evolution as a “force for good” in the region, could further consolidate India’s strategic correction to the East.
January — December 2022
Feb. 10-13, 2022: India’s External Affairs Minister (EAM) Dr. S. Jaishankar visits Australia to co-chair the 12th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue with counterpart, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. The two launch the inaugural Foreign Ministers’ Cyber Framework Dialogue (FMCFD) and assess the progress made towards implementation of the India-Australia Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation and the subsidiary Plan of Action signed in June 2020.
Feb. 13-15, 2022: Jaishankar makes his first visit to the Philippines as foreign minister to review relations with counterpart Teodoro L. Locsin Jr., secretary of Foreign Affairs. The meeting occurs two weeks after BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited (BAPL), a joint venture with India’s Defense Research and Development Organization, signed a contract with the Philippines Department of National Defense to supply shore-based anti-missile system. A readout notes agreement “to further work towards strengthening engagement in counter-terrorism and defense and maritime security, covering defense capabilities as well as military training and capacity building.”
Feb. 25-28, 2022: Australia’s vice admiral, chief of navy, Michael Noonan, visits India, including the HQ of Eastern Naval Command, to participate in Indian Navy’s biennial multilateral naval exercise MILAN 22, be a guest speaker during the International Maritime Seminar of MILAN, and hold talks with Indian navy counterparts about “avenues to strengthen the growing cooperation between the two nations and navies.” A press statement described the visit as “an important event in the continued and regular dialogue between Indian Navy and the Royal Australian Navy to cement and strengthen their comprehensive global strategic partnership further” and build on the ‘Joint Guidance for Australia—India Navy to Navy Relationship’ signed in August 2021.”
March 8-11, 2022: Australia’s Lt Gen Richard Maxwell Burr, Chief of Army, visits India for talks with India’s chief of Army Staff, chief of Naval Staff, chief of Air Staff and other senior military officers “regarding measures for enhancing [defense] cooperation between both armies.”
March 19-22, 2022: Japan’s Prime Minister Kishida Fumio visits India for 14th annual India-Japan Summit—the first since October 2018—to advance the “Special Strategic and Global Partnership.” PM Modi gives a press statement which makes no reference to Japan-India security ties, instead focusing on commercial/economic issues and cooperation on energy. Of the MoUs and agreements announced during the visit most focused on commercial and economic development and only one was security related—on cooperation in cybersecurity. The joint statement issued by two leaders opened with security and defense cooperation, noting that they “appreciated the significant progress made in security and defense cooperation and reaffirmed their desire to further deepen it.” The joint statement makes no mention of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine the previous month.
March 21, 2022: Prime Minister Modi and Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison hold virtual summit leading to a joint statement and the signing of multiple agreements
April 4-6, 2022: Gen. M.M. Naravane, India’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visits Singapore to discuss avenues for enhancing India-Singapore defense relations.
April 11-13, 2022: India and Australia’s navies hold 14th round of staff talks in New Delhi at which they “agree[…] to enhance collaboration and interoperability towards ensuring maritime security in IOR [Indian Ocean Region].”
April 12, 2022: India and Australia’s Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) conduct Coordinated Operations in Anti-Submarine Warfare and surface surveillance off Darwin, northern Australia. A press statement notes that the “maritime waters between Indonesia and Northern Australia is an area of mutual interest to both countries, being a gateway into the Indian Ocean Region.”
May 23-25, 2022: PM Modi travels to Tokyo for a bilateral summit with PM Kishida and to attend the Quad Leaders Summit. The two prime ministers announce no new major security-related initiatives, saying only that they “agreed to further enhance bilateral security and [defense] cooperation, including in the area of defense manufacturing… [and] …concurred that the next 2+2 Foreign and Defense Ministerial Meeting may be held in Japan at the earliest.” A particular focus of PM Modi’s Japan visit is for commercial relations “to realize 5 trillion yen [approximately $40 to $42 billion] in public and private investment and financing over the next five years from Japan to India” as agreed during an earlier India-Japan summit in March.
May 24, 2022: Modi attends a Quad Leaders Meeting “to review progress of Quad initiatives and Working Groups, identify new areas of cooperation and provide strategic guidance and vision for future collaboration.” In an opening statement at the Quad, Modi states that the Quad’s scope has become broader, its format more effective, it is giving new energy and enthusiasm to the democratic forces giving a boost to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” and will further strengthen the image of the Quad as a ‘Force for Good’. The Quad country leaders also issue a joint statement.
May 24, 2022: In Japan, Modi has a bilateral meeting with President Biden following up on an April 11 virtual meeting to develop the India-US Comprehensive Strategic Global Partnership. Of particular security significance was the launch of the “India-U.S. Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies. Modi “welcomed the launch of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) and stated that India is ready to work closely with all partner countries to shape a flexible, and inclusive IPEF taking into consideration the respective national circumstances.”
May 24, 2022: In Japan, Modi has a bilateral meeting with Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Modi tweeted that “India’s Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Australia is robust and benefits not only the people of our nations but also the world…We discussed ways to add even greater momentum across key sectors.”
June 8-11, 2022: India’s Defense Minister Rajnath Singh visits Vietnam to hold talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Gen. Phan Van Giang on the historic occasion of 50 years of establishment of India-Vietnam Diplomatic relations and 75 years of India’s Independence.
June 16, 2022: A Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting celebrating the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-India Dialogue Relations is held in Cambodia following which a joint statement is released.
June 20-23, 2022: Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Richard Marles visits India and meets Defense Minister Singh to review defense cooperation and explore new initiatives to further strengthen bilateral engagements.
June 27, 2022: India’s DM Singh holds video conference with Malaysian counterpart Senior Defense Minister of Malaysia YB Dato ‘Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on ways to enhance cooperation under the Malaysia India Defense Cooperation Meeting (MIDCOM) framework.
Aug. 3-4, 2022: Jaishankar visits Cambodia for ASEAN-India ministerial meeting to review India-ASEAN relations.
Aug. 16-18, 2022: Jaishankar visits Thailand to co-chair the 9th Meeting of India-Thailand Joint Commission (JCM) with Don Pramudwinai, deputy prime minister and minister of Foreign Affairs. He gives an address on “India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific” at Chulalongkorn University. The JCM was preceded by the Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) on Aug. 16 where the two sides held discussions on areas of bilateral cooperation along with regional and multilateral issues. MoUs were signed Health and Medical Research Cooperation and Cooperation & Collaboration on Broadcasting.
Sept 5-7, 2022: India’s DM Songh makes first-ever visit to Mongolia including bilateral talks with Mongolia’s Minister of Defense Lt Gen. Saikhanbayar and calls on President of Mongolia U. Khurelsukh and chairman of the State Great Khural of Mongolia G Zandanshatar. An official press release describes the visit as “[g]iving push to strategic partnership with East Asian countries.” Specific outcomes included inauguration of a Cyber Security Training Centre and laying of a foundation stone of the India-Mongolia Friendship School, both built with Indian assistance.
Sept. 7-10, 2022: Jaishankar and DM Singh visit Japan for the second iteration of 2+2 talks (the inaugural 2+2 was held in 2019) as well as a separate Defense Ministerial Meeting and Foreign Ministers’ Strategic Dialogue with Japanese counterparts Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Defense Minister Hamada Yasukazu.
Sept. 18-28, 2022: Jaishankar visits the US for what a pre-departure statement describes as “plurilateral meetings of the Quad, IBSA, BRICS, India—Presidency Pro Tempore CELAC, India-CARICOM and other trilateral formats, such as India-France-Australia, India-France-UAE and India-Indonesia-Australia…and bilateral meetings with Foreign Ministers of the G20 and UNSC member states…” He also attends a high-level meeting of members of the L.69 group and other invited like-minded countries on “Reinvigorating Multilateralism and Achieving Comprehensive Reform of the UN Security Council.”
Sept. 22-25, 2022: PM Modi travels to the US for a bilateral summit with President Biden at the White House, a Quad leaders’ summit in New York, and UNGA meetings. He also held other Indo-Pacific related bilateral leaders’ meetings. This is the first in-person meeting between Biden and Modi.
Sept. 22, 2022: Jaishankar participates in the meeting of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, including Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Yi. A press statement issued at the end of consultations did not mention Ukraine but included as a third bullet acknowledgement of “the annual UNGA resolution on ‘Combating glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance’.”
Sept. 22, 2022: Jaishankar participates in the Foreign Ministers of the G4 countries (Brazil, India, Germany, and Japan) meeting to exchange views on reform of the UN Security Council. This meeting is another opportunity for a meeting between EAM and Japan’s FM Hayashi.
Sept. 23, 2022: Quad Foreign Ministers Meeting on the sidelines of the 77th UNGA. Quad countries promised “to deepen Quad multilateral cooperation in support of advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific, which is inclusive and resilient” and agreed their “vision is for a region where the rules-based international order is upheld, and where the principles of freedom, rule of law, democratic values, peaceful settlement of disputes, sovereignty, and territorial integrity are respected.” They also signed guidelines to operationalize the Quad Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Partnership for the Indo-Pacific, looked forward to the counter-terrorism tabletop exercise being hosted by Australia later in 2022, and issued a statement on ransomware which calls on states to take reasonable steps to address ransomware operations emanating from their territory, and reiterated the Quad’s commitment to supporting regional partners’ efforts to improve their maritime security and domain awareness.
Sept. 25-28, 2022: Jaishankar visits Washington for bilateral meetings with counterpart Secretary of State Antony Blinken, senior members of the US administration, US business leaders, a roundtable focused on S&T and interaction with the Indian diaspora.
Sept. 26-28, 2022: Modi travels to Japan for the state funeral of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo. He holds a brief bilateral meeting with Kishida during which they “renewed their commitment towards further strengthening the India-Japan Special Strategic and Global Partnership, and in working together in the region and in various international groupings and institutions.”
Sept. 28-31, 2022: Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy Cruise Training Task Group consisting of two naval ships, ROKS Hansando and ROKS Daecheong arrived in Chennai on a three-day visit.
Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2022: India’s Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS), Adm. R Hari Kumar, visited New Zealand where he held discussions with Rear Adm. David Proctor, chief of Navy, RNZN. An Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange was signed during this visit.
Oct. 5-11, 2022: Jaishankar visits New Zealand. A statement prior to the visit notes that this was his first visit to New Zealand where he would hold meetings with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta “to discuss and review the entire gamut of our relations.”
Oct. 9-11, 2022: Jaishankar visits Canberra and Sydney Australia for the 13th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue (FMFD) along with counterpart Penny Wong. He also meets Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles. EAM described the interactions with Australia as “a very, very useful, very productive, very comfortable…” though he said there is “great potential in terms of giving a greater, I would say, quality to our bilateral partnership.”
Oct. 14-18, 2022: India’s Defense Minister addresses the 18th Heads of Asian Coast Guard Agencies Meeting HACGAM which the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) is hosting.
Oct. 20, 2022: Mongolia’s Defense Minister Saikhanbayar Gursed visits India for 12th DefExpo in Gandhinagar, Gujarat and has a bilateral meeting on the sidelines with Indian DM Singh.
Oct. 26-30, 2022: India’s navy hosts the 29th edition of the Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) at Visakhapatnam.
Nov. 5-9, 2022: India’s Chief of Naval Staff Adm. R. Hari Kumar, makes official visit to Japan for the International Fleet Review (IFR) hosted by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) off Yokosuka in commemoration of the 70th Anniversary of its formation.
Nov. 11-13, 2022: India’s Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, accompanied by External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, visits Cambodia to attend the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit on Nov. 12, the 17th East Asia Summit, bilateral engagements with the Cambodian leadership including the Cambodian king, prime minister, president of senate, and other bilateral meetings.
Nov. 14-16, 2022: PM Modi travels to Indonesia for the G20 Summit on the sidelines of which he holds a number of meetings with Indo-Pacific leaders.
Nov. 15, 2022: Modi has bilateral meeting with Biden on the G20 sidelines during which the two leaders “reviewed the continuing deepening of the India – US strategic partnership including cooperation in future oriented sectors like critical and emerging technologies, advanced computing, artificial intelligence, etc. [and] expressed satisfaction about the close cooperation between India and US in new groupings such as the Quad, I2U2, etc.”
Nov. 15, 2022: Modi holds trilateral meeting with Presidents Biden and Widodo on G20 sidelines.
Nov. 16, 2022: Modi holds bilateral meeting with Singapore’s PM Lee Hsien Loong during which they reviewed the Strategic Partnership and various “regular high level Ministerial and institutional interactions, including the inaugural session of the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable, held at New Delhi in September 2022.
Nov. 16, 2022: Modi and Australian PM Albanese hold a bilateral meeting on the G20 sidelines during which they “expressed satisfaction at the excellent state of relations between the two countries under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the high-level interactions taking place on a regular basis between India and Australia.”
Nov. 21-23, 2022: Indian Naval Ships Shivalik and Kamorta, during their stay at Busan, Korea participate in multiple activities with the RoK Navy that include official and social interactions, cross-deck visits and sports fixtures.
Nov. 28-Dec. 12, 2022: India-Malaysia joint military annual training exercise “Harimau Shakti -2022” is conducted at Pulai, Kluang, Malaysia.
Nov. 28-Dec. 11, 2022: India-Australia bilateral training exercise “AUSTRA HIND 22” between contingents of the Indian Army and the Australian Army takes place at Mahajan Field Firing Ranges (Rajasthan). This is the first exercise in the series of AUSTRA HIND with participation of all arms and services contingent from both armies.
Dec. 13-15, 2022: Jaishankar visits New York for events related to India’s December presidency of the UNSC. The three priorities are: “New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism” [NORMS]; “Global Approach to Counter Terrorism – Challenges and Way Forward”; “Group of Friends for Accountability for Crimes against Peacekeepers”.