Roundtable stresses on PM’s visit Down Under

The fourth India-Australia roundtable held on December 4-5 emphasised on improving bilateral relations.

Updated: Dec 07, 2012, 21:50 PM IST

New Delhi: The fourth India-Australia roundtable held on December 4-5 here emphasised on improving bilateral relations and the need to work towards an Indian Prime Ministerial visit to Australia.

The roundtable noted that with Indians comprising one of the largest and fastest-growing communities in Australia, there is a great scope to harness societal links to strengthen political and business ties.

It is essential to build constituencies to champion Australia-India relations in both countries during future potential phases of trouble, which occur in any bilateral relationship, roundtable co-chairs` said in a statement.

The roundtable meet was organised by India`s Observer Research Foundation and Australia`s Lowy Institute for International Policy.

It also suggested India and Australia deepen their security collaboration, including through regular bilateral naval exercises.

Potential areas for future defence cooperation include development of amphibious capabilities, submarine rescue, operational communication links and maritime domain awareness in overlapping zones of interest in the Indian Ocean.

It was also suggested that the two countries bring together maritime legal specialists to develop shared understandings on critical regional issues such as freedom of navigation.

The roundtable noted that there are strong complementarities between Australia and India in the field of long-term energy co-operation and mining - especially of coal and natural gas. An Australia-India energy partnership should cover the full mix of energy sources.

The dialogue involved exchange of insights and assessments between more than 50 experts, officials, parliamentarians, business representatives and journalists from the two countries.