India, Australia FMs underline importance of strong bonds, enduring shared interests

      At the India-Australia Foreign Ministers Framework Dialogue in New Delhi on 13 October, the Indian Minister of External Affairs, S M Krishna and the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Stephen Smith underlined the strong bonds and enduring shared interests which bind India and Australia together. Relations between India and Australia continue to expand across a wide front, adding depth and breadth to the relationship. The two Ministers acknowledged the significant contribution made by regular two-way high-level political and official visits to the deepening and diversification of bilateral relations in various sectors. The ministers had an in-depth and wide-ranging discussion about international and regional issues. They underlined the significant capacity for enhanced regional cooperation between India and Australia, including to strengthen the leaders-led East Asia Summit. The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs welcomed India's initiative on the revival of the Nalanda University as an important step for promoting deeper understanding by promoting the values of tolerance and accommodation. The Indian side noted the recent Australian initiative on the need for evolving an Asia-Pacific community to meet future challenges. Global events since the last Framework Dialogue in June 2008 have underlined the urgent need for effective multilateralism and more representative international institutions which reflect the realities of the 21st century. India and Australia are pleased that the G20 has been designated as the premier forum for international economic cooperation. India and Australia look forward to continuing to work together closely in the G20 to meet the challenges confronting the global economy. Mr Smith reiterated Australia's strong support for a permanent seat for India on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). He also highlighted Australia's firm support for India's membership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation grouping when the membership moratorium ends next year. Mr Krishna said India was pleased Australia had become an observer at meetings of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation.

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