New Delhi: Amid concerns that controversy
involving Commonwealth Games may discourage participating
nations, Australia today said it was looking forward to a
"very successful" event in Delhi and planning to send a large
contingent of athletes.
Dismissing reports that his government was not keen on
sending a large contingent of players to the Games, Australian
High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese told reporters, "I
don`t think such reports are true.
"Australia is looking forward to a successful games in
Delhi. We are a sport-loving nation and we plan to send a
large team to India. We are looking forward to a good
competition and a lot of gold medals."
To a question about security and whether his country
was unhappy with the preparations for the Games, the envoy
said, "These days, if we stage a large international event, we
will always have to be very conscious about threat and
security issues...whether it is in India, Australia on
"We are in close consultation with the Indian
government on the issue...we are fully satisfied with the
consultation and they are keeping us informed."
Earlier, delivering a lecture on `Australian
Perspectives on the Asia-Pacific Region and India-Australia
Cooperation in the Region` at the ICWA, Varghese said in the
next few years, India is going to "matter more and more" to
his country, the region and the world and there will be a
trajectory of "strong growth" in bilateral ties.
India and Australia are entering a period of
"increasing convergence" in economic, strategic and
multilateral fields, he said and felt that energy security
will be the "core" of the trade and economic relationship.
"Energy security will be the dominant concern of
Indian governments in future years and Australia have the
capacity to fulfil the demand. This form the foundation of
ties," he said, referring to increasing Indian investments in
Noting that issues like shared interests, Asian
regionalism and the need to maintain a balance of power in the
region bring the two countries closer, he emphasised on
importance of working together as maritime powers and Indian
Ocean nations in the future strategic environment.
Noting that multilateral agenda like trade talks has
traditionally divided the two nations, he felt that also is
"beginning to change" and more common ground is being found.
Varghese also said the "final pillar" of economic and
trade relationship will be better people-to-people contact and
referred to increase in Indian skilled migrants and students
going to Australia in recent years.
Diaspora community can enhance economic ties and
"stabilise government-to-government relationship", he said.
The Indian diaspora in Australia are now about
350,000-strong. In recent times, however, Indo-Australian ties
have seen some strains over incidents of attacks on Indian
students, some of them with suspected racial overtones.
Australian officials, however, shrug the "racist" tag
and feel that there should be more contacts, including between
media in the two countries, to deal with "incomplete
understanding" of modern India in Australia and of modern
Australia in India.
They say among many people in India, Australia is
still viewed as a "white exclusivist" society whereas it has
undergone a complete transformation to turn out as one of the
most multicultural societies in the world.
Officials also feel there are some misinterpretations
in India about Australia`s "neutral" approach to the issue of
China`s claim over Arunachal Pradesh and dismiss suggestions
that its stand had been pro-China.
In fact, they say India and Australia have several
"strategic meeting points" including keeping the balance of
power in the region. They also feel the two countries can be
part of a broader regional security mechanism.