Jaishankar lauds India-Australia partnership in trade, defence
Pointing towards the fast-paced growth in the trade and investment relationship between India and Australia as reflected in the increased presence of the Indian community in this country, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday said that both the country provide great support to each other.
Jaishankar, who is here to attend the two-day Indian Ocean Conference, also reiterated his comment made on Friday as to how Australia is the “most consequential relationship we have in the Indian Ocean.”
Addressing the Indian community here, Jaishankar started by highlighting how it was under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that a “new energy, this new interest, which has come into our foreign policy,” compared it with how it used to be in earlier years and said, “It took us 20 years after independence to have the first Prime Ministerial visit to Australia” and how every Prime Minister of Australia, since 2014, has met with Modi.
“So, the first message I bring to you today is that the relationship is doing great. There’s an enormous commitment from India starting with the Prime Minister to build on this partnership. And it is something that we regard today. Yesterday when I addressed the Indian Ocean conference, I said I regard this as the most consequential relationship we have in the Indian Ocean,” he said.
After talking about the increased political exchanges and the leadership level, the External Affairs Minister said, “Look at the trade today, our trade with Australia is upwards of USD 20 million and growing steadily.”
“If one looks at the trade and investment side today again, there is that sense that this is a relationship which is very much on look at the community or the community itself,” the Minster told a packed Indian Community Centre hall.
He highlighted the growth of the community with “so many more of you in so many different professions,” and said: “It is manifesting itself in different ways. I mean, we have just recently when the Prime Minister was here we announced a new consulate in Brisbane, Australia has opened one in Bengaluru and I expect more of this to unfold as the community grows.”
The sentiment was reflected in his post on X after the event. “Addressed the Indian community in Perth today. Grateful for their contribution in strengthening the India-Australia Dosti,” he said and posted photos from the event.
During his speech, Jaishankar also said India and the Australian Defence Forces work very closely as partners, allow deployments in each other’s countries, and provide great support to each other “So this is today very much a relationship that is growing that is deepening that is getting new content, new substance and a higher profile.”
India’s global footprint has brought it much deeper into “this broader region,” he pointed out and said, “If one looks at Fiji or you look at Papa New Guinea, in fact, look at all the Pacific Islands, which are close to Australia. There is again today an Indian presence and Indian project and Indian contribution and Indian collaboration in some form.”
He also underscored how India would do much more in key areas like health, education, and space because “when we do more in this larger region that also contributes … that is part of our partnership with Australia as well.”
The Indian minister also met Roger Cook, the premier of Western Australia at the venue with a sea view. “Nice to meet Premier @RogerCookMLA of Western Australia. Appreciate his hosting the 7th Indian Ocean Conference. His support for building strong India-Australia ties was manifest,” Jaishankar said in another post on X along with photos of the two leaders.
Jaishankar also met the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP). “Good to meet members of OFBJP in Perth today. Appreciate their work which promotes better understanding and cooperation between our two countries,” he posted on X along with photos from the meeting.
Earlier in the day, Jaishankar had a fireside chat with his Australian counterpart Penny Wong at the Indian Ocean Conference and had bilateral meetings with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Minister of Mauritius Maneesh Gobin and Foreign Minister of Madagascar Rasata Rafaravavitafika on the sidelines.
Jaishankar also met three Indian-origin Western Australian Parliamentarians Zaneta Mascarenhas, Varun Ghosh, and Dr Jagadish Krishnan, and also visited the city’s Sailani Avenue, which is named after Indian-origin soldier Nain Singh Sailani, who sacrificed his life during World War I while serving the Australian Imperial Force.