New Delhi: Australia on Thursday supported India to play a role in the Indo-Pacific region, with its Prime Minister Scott Morrison stating that the nations “share responsibility for that ocean”. During the first-ever bilateral India-Australia virtual summit, Morrison also lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the leadership he has displayed during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are committed to an open, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific, and India’s role in that region. Our region will be critical in the years ahead,” Morrison said. “We share an ocean and we share responsibility for that ocean as well, its health, well being and security. The relationship we are forming around those issues on our maritime domain, I think is the platform for so many other things between our countries,” he added.
Morrison said India, under the leadership of PM Modi, has been playing a very positive role in very difficult times.
“I thank you (PM Modi) for your leadership not just within India but broadly throughout G20, Indo-Pacific and the stabilising, constructive and very positive role that you have played in these very difficult times,” the Australian PM said. “I commend India on its leadership on taking Chair of WHO’s executive board. This is a very important time to be chairing that board and I have no doubt that India’s leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area,” he added.PIB Delhi
#WATCH: PM Modi laughs as Australian PM Scott Morrison says,”It doesn’t surprise me, this is how (virtually) we’d continue to meet in these circumstances. You are the one who started hologram in your campaigning many years ago, maybe next time we can have a hologram of you here.”
PM Modi, on his part, said that his government had decided to view the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity. “In India, a process of comprehensive reforms has been initiated in almost all areas. Very soon its result will be seen at the ground level,” Modi told his Australian counterpart during the summit.
He further stressed on a joint battle against the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought the global economy to a virtual halt.
“Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will play a greater and crucial role in this era of pandemic. We need coordinated and collaborative approach to ensure the world recovers from this pandemic’s social and economic impact,” the PM said.
The PM stressed that India and Australia must work in a manner that their relationship becomes a stabilising factor not just for the Indo-Pacific region but the entire world.
“We need to think how our ties can become a factor of stability for not just the Indo-Pacific region but the entire world. We should think how we can work together for the global good,” the PM said.Narendra Modi✔@narendramodi ·
A new model of India-Australia partnership, a new model of conducting business.
Met my dear friend, PM @ScottMorrisonMP over India-Australia Virtual Summit.
We had an outstanding discussion, covering the entire expanse of our relationship.Narendra Modi✔@narendramodi
“India is committed to strengthening its relations with Australia. It is not only important for our two nations but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the whole world,” he added.
Stressing on the bilateral ties, Modi said India and Australia share not just extensive but deep ties. “Our bilateral relations have shared values, shared interests, shared geography and shared objectives,” he underlined.
Modi said this is the perfect time to further strengthen relations between India and Australia and there are endless opportunities to “strengthen our friendship”.
“It also brings with it challenges to turn this potential into reality, how our relations become a factor of stability for the region,” PM Modi stated.
At the start of the summit, PM Modi, on behalf of the whole of India, expressed condolences to the COVID-19 affected people in Australia.
Shortly before the virtual summit began, the two leaders took to Twitter to share their views on the virtual meeting.
“Looking forward to catching up with PM Narendra Modi shortly for the first-ever Australia-India virtual summit,” tweeted Australia PM Scott Morrison.
“Glad to be joining the first India-Australia Virtual Summit with you, PM Scott Morrison. India-Australia ties have always been close. As vibrant democracies, from Commonwealth to cricket to even cuisine, our people-to-people relations are strong & the future is bright!” PM Modi responded to his Australian counterpart on Twitter.Narendra Modi✔@narendramodi
Glad to be joining the first India-Australia Virtual Summit with you, PM @ScottMorrisonMP.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had earlier said in a statement: “Dates for the visit of Prime Minister of Australia to India this year had been finalised, but the visit could not take place. It was also agreed to hold a ‘Virtual Summit’. This is the first time that Prime Minister Modi will be holding a ‘Bilateral Virtual Summit’, this signifies the strengthening of ties with Australia and its upward trajectory.”
“The focus would be on the positive trajectory in bilateral relations during discussions between the two Prime Ministers, who have already met on four occasions on the sidelines of multilateral meetings,” sources had said, as per a report in PIB Delhi.