Transcript of Remarks Following Meeting with Indian Prime Minister
WED 17 OCTOBER 2012
New Delhi, India
Subject(s): Visit to India; Australia-India relations
PM: I want to thank the Indian Government and the Indian people for the warmth of the welcome that we received and the very great honour of this state visit.
Yesterday Prime Minister Singh I was privileged to see some of the human dimensions of the relationships between our two countries.
I was able to see things like how sport and education are changing the lives of Indian children.
I was able to see how scientific communities are working together to fight the scourge of malaria.
And last night I was very privileged to see world-class musicians from both our countries perform at last night’s OzFest opening against the backdrop of an amazing live show.
A number of us enjoyed that very much last night.
The people to people links between our two countries are the fastest-growing element of our bilateral relationship.
Today, Prime Minister, I am very pleased that we have been able to have such productive discussions.
I think the positive and strong state of our bilateral relationship is obvious from the discussions we’ve had.
There is a growing convergence of our economic and strategic interests; that is obvious too.
And so there’s the goodwill and the desire to do more to build our strategic partnership.
As I said a little bit earlier today when I was speaking to our business communities, I am committed to building a productive and enduring partnership with India; one which stands in the first rank of countries which matter to our nation, to Australia.
I am therefore delighted, Prime Minister Singh, that you and I have been able to agree on a number of very concrete measures that will help forge that relationship for the future.
I’m pleased we’ve been able to agree that Australian and Indian leaders should meet formally each year, either in each other’s country as we are doing now, or in the margins of regional or global bodies in which we share membership, such as the G20 or the East Asia Summit.
These meetings will help provide high-level oversight of our strategic partnership and continue its momentum.
Prime Minister, I’m also pleased we’ve been able to meet on a number of occasions over the past two years.
I think it is important that today we have decided to formalise that arrangement.
I’m pleased that we were able to agree that we would commence negotiations on a bilateral civil-nuclear cooperation agreement in the near future.
This is something that is personally important to me given the change in my party’s policy and the Government’s policy on this matter.
In addition I am pleased that we’ve been able to add to the architecture of our relationship by agreeing to a new energy security dialogue between our respective ministers and a water technology partnership to focus on the issue of water management, which is vital to both of our countries.
I’m pleased we were able to discuss our growing economic relationship, and that we agreed on the importance of making progress in our comprehensive high-quality bilateral free trade agreement.
I’m also pleased we’ve had a good discussion about working together regionally and globally.
This is important to us as we join each other in forums such as the G20 and the East Asia Summit.
And as the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Indian Ocean Regional Cooperation Forum, I believe we have the opportunity to continue to work together to strengthen Indian Ocean cooperation.
So Prime Minister Singh, thank you very much for your hospitality and for the very productive discussions that we have had today.
I’m looking forward to continuing to work with you as we take this strategic partnership between our two countries into this Asian century.
Thank you very much.