Australia-India roundtable deepens cooperation

New Delhi, Dec.7 (ANI): The Fourth Australia-India Roundtable met in New Delhi on December 4 and 5, underlining the common interests and objectives which bind the two countries together.

'A big, close, mutually beneficial relationship between two countries must be based on a multi-faceted and frank conversation about the big issues of the day. It is particularly important then that two leading think-thanks, India's Observer Research Foundation and Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy, have convened the Australia-India Roundtable at a time when the bilateral relationship is moving ahead at a rapid rate across a broad front', said Australia's Acting High Commissioner, Dr Lachlan Strahan.

'The Roundtable brought together a wide range of leading figures from the two countries to discuss the big challenges of the 21st century, including energy security, regional and global economic developments, the role of cities and states in creating external linkages, defence ties, maritime security and strategic assessments of the Indo-Pacific region', said Dr Strahan.

'The Roundtable rightly called for sustained creative thinking and efforts on the part of government, business and society to further strengthen links between the two countries. Other bilateral forums, such as the 1.5 track defence dialogue which met in Perth in July, are extending the depth of the broad discussion between the two countries about key issues.'

In addressing the Roundtable, Australia's Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, said: "We don't want to be just a commodities exporter. We're a highly efficient minerals and petroleum services country and we want to be able to export those services and create opportunities to assist countries such as India."

The Roundtable was held in partnership with the Public Diplomacy Division of the Ministry of External Affairs, the Australia India Institute, the Australia India Council and the University of Melbourne.

It convened during Oz Fest, the biggest Australian cultural festival to ever take place in India. Oz Fest seminars on innovation, energy and mining were held in New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, underscoring the strong economic linkages between Australia and India.

Nine Australian federal and state political leaders have visited India since Oz Fest launched by Prime Minister Gillard on 16 October at a major concert in New Delhi. Another three federal ministers are due to come to India before Oz Fest finishes on 6 February 2013 at a major concert in New Delhi.(ANI)

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