After returning from the US and quarantining in Canberra, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke on WebEx webinar to brief the Indian media on his meeting in Washington with PM Narendra Modi, the Quad leaders summit and Australia-India relations.
“There’s always plenty for Narendra and I to be discussing in what is a very warm friendship that we’ve been able to build up over several years now.
“…Next year I’m very much looking forward to going to, to New Delhi in person. That will be particularly important because it marks a, the significant milestone of India’s 75th year of independence.”
“And so, Australia would very much want to be there to mark such an important milestone for such a dear and close friend”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the Indian media in a virtual briefing on Thursday, 30 September.
Talking about his meeting with Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, Mr Morrison spoke about various initiatives the two discussed.
“The most significant, I think was our agreement to go forward with a low emissions technology partnership… But, to do that in a way that is practical, is one of the key partnerships to ensure that both of our countries are able to go through this transition period.
“Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is further, is becoming more ambitious, and our trade ministers will be meeting, next week… I think we’ll be able to get a lot further in a bilateral sense with India and Australia together.
And the Prime Minister and I share that objective.”
On a bilateral level, Australia and India are working together on a trade agreement – the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
“And this all builds off the India Economic, India Economic Strategy update that will also identify new opportunities”, the Prime Minister said.
Relishing Australia’s engagement in joint exercises off Guam in the Bay of Bengal as part of the Exercise Malabar back in August 2021, the Prime Minister said “we’re committed to an open, a secure and resilient Indo-Pacific, and advancing our cooperation right across the Indian Ocean”.
Another key matter which is, is, is very large on the global agenda is the matter of critical and emerging technologies. This will also continue to be a key part of our partnership, 5G, 6G, cybersecurity, critical minerals, space, which will deliver future security, prosperity and resilience.
Mr Morrison, and Mr Modi were in Washington for the, the Quad Leaders’ Summit. In his words, this is how Prime Minister Morrison described QUAD:
“The Quad is a positive initiative. The Quad is about like-minded democracies, together with Japan and the United States, coming together to demonstrate that such democracies and economies can deal with the world’s biggest challenges and make a positive difference, whether that be on our response to COVID, whether that be on ensuring the development and accessibility of new and critical technologies, whether that be in addressing the global challenge of climate change or indeed dealing constructively with the regional security issues that present within our region and cooperating together as like-minded democracies.
“This is not an alliance. It’s, it is a practical partnership of like-minded, scaled democracies and economies that can actually bring stability and growth and prosperity to our region. All four of us live here. All four of us have our future here. All four of us understand the challenges and the changing strategic environment in which we’re living in the Indo-Pacific. And, so, we’ve come together at a leaders’ level.”
Commenting on Quad partner India joining Australia to provide COVID assistance to countries in the region, Prime Minister Morrison made a particular mention of India’s generous contribution to Fiji with Covishield vaccine. Fiji is now 90 fully vaccinated.
Speaking on WebEx Webinar, Prime Minister Scott Morrison appeared particularly upbeat about Australia India relastionsip.