Kem Cho from Brisbane: Morrison to Modi

By Our Reporter
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi at the Virtual Annual Leaders’ Meeting held on March 21. Pic supplied

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have expressed support and cooperation with each other to “drive bilateral cooperation to new heights”.

In an Virtual Annual Leaders’ Meeting held yesterday, Morrison began with “Kem Cho from Brisbane” and wished Modi a happy Holi, he also congratulated his party, the BJP, for its recent state election victories. “I congratulate you on your five election victories in the, in the states recently, particularly in Goa. That must have been a tremendous result for you,” Morrison said.

Modi expressed his condolences on the recent loss of lives and property due to the floods in Australia. “On behalf of all Indians, I would like to express my condolences for the loss of lives and property due to the floods in Queensland and New South Wales,” Modi said.

Morrison said the meeting was set against the distressing backdrop of the war in Europe. “While we are obviously distressed at the terrible situation in Europe, our focus, of course, is always very much on what is occurring in the Indo-Pacific and ensuring that those events could never occur here in the Indo-Pacific.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison at the Virtual Annual Leaders’ Meeting held on March 21. Pic supplied

He said the Quad Leaders’ call recently gave the opportunity to discuss Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine, but also the opportunity to discuss the implications and consequences of that terrible event “for our own region in the Indo-Pacific and the coercion and the issues that we face here. The tragic loss of life underlies the importance, of course, of holding Russia to account. But cooperation between like-minded liberal democracies is key to an open and inclusive and resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific, and I welcome your leadership within the Quad to keeping us focused on those important issues”.

Morrison also expressed the hope that economic cooperation between India and Australia would be further advanced.

Morrison announced some more initiatives between Indian and Australia in the field of Science, technology, energy and especially critical minerals and rare earths. “We’ll redouble our efforts, as I said, on our interim Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement to unlock new opportunities and benefits for both our economies. It will bring us closer to a full agreement as soon as I hope we can achieve that.”

Modi, who did not make any comments on the Ukraine-Russia war,  said he was pleased that an Annual Summit mechanism between our two countries is being established. “This will give us a framework for regularly reviewing relations. It will give us a structured framework for that.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Virtual Annual Leaders’ Meeting held on March 21. Pic supplied

He welcomed the announcement of the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technologies in Bangalore. “It is essential that we have better cooperation between us in the areas of cyber and critical and emerging technologies. As countries that share similar values, it is our responsibility to adopt appropriate global standards for these emerging technologies, Modi said.

On the significant progress in the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, CECA, in a very short time, Modi hoped that an agreement will be reached very soon on the remaining issues, as well.

“There is also good cooperation between us in the Quad framework. Our cooperation under the Quad demonstrates our commitment towards a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. The success of Quad is essential for regional and global stability,” Modi said.

He also thanked the Australian government for the initiative to return ancient Indian artefacts include statues and paintings that are hundreds of years old and that have been illegally taken out of various Indian states, including Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.

Lastly, Modi congratulated the performance of the Australia’s women’s cricket team in the Cricket World Cup.

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