Bilateral relations between India, Australia has shown steady progress: Khurshid

New Delhi, Jan 21 (ANI): Asserting that bilateral relations between India and Australia has shown steady progress over time with consolidation of its strategic partnership through expansion and deepening of cooperation in various sectors, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Monday said both nations will continue to build upon these and also in new areas of cooperation.

At the joint media interaction with Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr here, Khurshid said: "I have just had a very useful round of discussions with Senator Bob Carr, Foreign Minister of Australia. We held the 8th round of the Framework Dialogue between our two countries. The dialogue is an integral component of the strategic partnership between our countries, which was agreed by our Prime Ministers in 2009."

"We have reviewed the entire range of our bilateral relations as well as regional and global issues. We are pleased that our strategic partnership has grown in strength and has expanded in scope. We also recognised that there are tremendous opportunities for much greater cooperation and that we shall strive to attain them," he said.

"Our relations are based on shared interests and mutual benefit in political and security areas, our expanding economic and trade ties, our cooperation in the energy and resources sectors, collaboration in science and technology and research, and our growing people-to-people links," he added.

Stating that state visit of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to India last year was a landmark in our strategic partnership, Khurshid said: " Senator Carr and I reviewed the progress in the implementation of the decisions reached. We are satisfied with the scope and extent of progress made in various areas. We have strengthened our collaborative endeavours in several sectors and have opened up new areas of cooperation."

"We highly value our cooperation in the science and technology field; our scientists have been working together on research projects that address the needs of the people as well as in the frontier areas of science," he said.

"We are pleased with our cooperation in the education sector, which has been expanded by the inclusion of specific programmes on vocational skills and the establishment of such centres in India and has also been given a stronger structure through close cooperation between the governments in addressing the needs of the student community, both in terms of curriculum quality as well as safety issues," he added.

On regional and global issues, Khurshid said: "We have strengthened our cooperation and consultation. We recognised the importance of regional cooperation in the Indian Ocean region. IOR-ARC, which has acquired new momentum during our Chairmanship will continue the positive movement, as Australia assumes the Chair for the next two years.

"We have collaborated closely on our cooperative agenda with ASEAN and in East Asia Summit . We look forward to working closely with Brunei, the new ASEAN Chair in this effort. Similar cooperation has also furthered our objectives in ASEM and in G-20. Australia will host G-20 Summit in 2014 and we look forward to close consultations on global economic issues. We welcome Australia's role in UNSC," he added.

Congratulating Australia for hosting Ozfest, which has brought our peoples closer, Khurshid said: "Our people-to-people exchanges have been intensified through closer cooperation on cultural, academic, sporting and other links, which have broadened our relationship and deepened understanding." (ANI)

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