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A Convergence of Interests

Australia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith speaks at Asia Society India Centre. (Asia Society India Centre)
by admin
15 October 2009

MUMBAI, October 15, 2009 - Moving into the 21st century, India
and Australia share many interests: the expansion of trade and
investment, insuring regional security, and tackling climate change. It
is in the interest of both nations to foster continuing growth in
bilateral relations and to advance international and regional

In an evening presentation co-organized by Asia Society India
Centre and United Phosphorus Limited, Stephen Smith, Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Australia, discussed the great potential for growth in
India and Australia's bilateral relations.

This was Smith's second visit to India as foreign minister. He claimed to be struck by the natural convergance of interests, and he
said that he is committed to expanding and deepening Australia's
relationship with India. Australia recognizes that global economic,
political, and strategic influence are shifting to the Asia Pacific
region. India will continue to be a major part of this transformation,
and will help to shape global structure which will determine the future
of world affairs. For many decades, Australia has underestimated India's
importance to the region and to the world.

Since 2008, there have been nine visits to India from Australian
Ministers. In the same period, ten Indian ministers have made visits to
Australia. As founding members of the G20, Australia and India have
demonstrated a mutual comittment to reshaping International
organizations to reflect the realities of the modern world, rather than
those of the ninteen forties and fifties.

Australia and India have also built a strong relationship based on
trade in natural materials, such as minerals and petroleum. There are
difficulties in the trade relationship between the two nations, most
notably a disagreement on nucleur proliferation. However, as Smith
noted, the strength of India and Australia's relationship will be based
in mutual respect for democratic values, international consensus, and
perhaps, cricket.

Reported by Madeline Gressel, Asia Society India Centre