New Delhi, Jan 21 (IBNS) External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid held bilateral talks with Australia Minister of Foreign Affairs Bob Carr here on Monday.
At the Joint Media Interaction with Carr, Khurshid said: "We have reviewed the entire range of our bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues. We are pleased that our Strategic Partnership has grown in strength and has expanded in scope."
"We also recognised that there are tremendous opportunities for much greater cooperation and that we shall strive to attain them.
"Our relations are based on shared interests and mutual benefit in political and security areas, our expanding economic and trade ties, our cooperation in the energy and resources sectors, collaboration in science & technology and research, and our growing people-to-people links," he said.
Full text of Khurshid´s remarks to media:
Your Excellency Senator Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Friends from Media,
I have just had a very useful round of discussions with Senator Bob Carr, Foreign Minister of Australia. We held the 8th round of the Framework Dialogue between our two countries. The dialogue is an integral component of the strategic partnership between our countries, which was agreed by our Prime Ministers in 2009.
We have reviewed the entire range of our bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues. We are pleased that our Strategic Partnership has grown in strength and has expanded in scope. We also recognised that there are tremendous opportunities for much greater cooperation and that we shall strive to attain them. Our relations are based on shared interests and mutual benefit in political and security areas, our expanding economic and trade ties, our cooperation in the energy and resources sectors, collaboration in science & technology and research, and our growing people-to-people links.
The State visit of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to India last year was a landmark in our strategic partnership during which a number of agreements were signed and several new initiatives were launched. Senator Carr and I reviewed the progress in the implementation of the decisions reached. We are satisfied with the scope and extent of progress made in various areas. We have strengthened our collaborative endeavours in several sectors and have opened up new areas of cooperation.
We held the first Ministerial level Energy Dialogue, led by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission and the Australian Minister for Energy, in December 2012; we shall be commencing negotiations on a Civil Nuclear Energy Cooperation Agreement led by our Ministry of External Affairs and the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, in March 2013, in New Delhi; our cooperation in water resources has expanded and the Water Technology Partnership will take concrete shape at the next Joint Working Group, in April 2013; and negotiations for the Transfer of Sentenced Persons will commence shortly.
High level Ministerial level exchanges have taken place in several areas. We shall soon be hosting the Joint Commission between our Minister for Commerce and Industries and the Australian Trade Minister which will give impetus to our trade relations, currently at Australian $21 billion. Our trade negotiators have been engaged in broadening understanding towards a mutually beneficial CECA. Our investments in Australia have grown significantly in recent years, particularly in the resources sector. We have welcomed the Australian side to invest in the opportunities in India. Our Defence Minister will be visiting Australia soon for further discussions on cooperation in defence and security.
We highly value our cooperation in the Science & Technology field; our scientists have been working together on research projects that address the needs of the people as well as in the frontier areas of science. We are pleased with our cooperation in the education sector, which has been expanded by the inclusion of specific programmes on vocational skills and the establishment of such centres in India and has also been given a stronger structure through close cooperation between the governments in addressing the needs of the student community, both in terms of curriculum quality as well as safety issues.
On regional and global issues, we have strengthened our cooperation and consultation. We recognised the importance of regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. IOR-ARC, which has acquired new momentum during our Chairmanship will continue the positive movement, as Australia assumes the Chair for the next two years. We have collaborated closely on our cooperative agenda with ASEAN and in East Asia Summit . We look forward to working closely with Brunei, the new ASEAN Chair in this effort. Similar cooperation has also furthered our objectives in ASEM and in G-20. Australia will host G-20 Summit in 2014 and we look forward to close consultations on global economic issues. We welcome Australia´s role in UNSC.
Our people-to-people exchanges have been intensified through closer cooperation on cultural, academic, sporting and other links, which have broadened our relationship and deepened understanding. I wish to congratulate Australia for hosting Ozfest which has brought our peoples closer.
Our bilateral relations have shown steady progress over time with consolidation of our Strategic Partnership, through expansion and deepening of cooperation in various sectors. We will continue to build upon these and also in new areas of cooperation. We shall play our due role in the transformations taking place in our region and be responsible partners in the emerging regional architecture.
Thank you Minister for the very very meaningful discussions.