New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held the first-ever virtual summit with Australian PM Scott Morrison focussing on ways to further broad-base bilateral ties in a range of areas like healthcare, trade and defence at a time when the world is reeling under the coronavirus pandemic. Also Read - Unlock 2 in Jammu and Kashmir: Shopping Malls Can Reopen, Movement of Individuals For Non-essential Activities Remains Prohibited
“Perfect time and perfect opportunity,” PM Modi said as he opened the conversation with his Australian counterpart. Also Read - Soft Copies, 6 Feet Distance, Sanitisers: New Rules For Parliamentary Panel Meets
Here’s what the two top leaders discussed: Also Read - Madhya Pradesh Now Has Over 1,000 Containment Zones, Indore Tops The List
1. PM Modi expressed his condolences towards COVID-19 affected people in Australia and said, “This is the perfect time to further strengthen relations between India and Australia. There are endless opportunities to strengthen our friendship, it also brings with it challenges to turn this potential into reality, how our relationship becomes a factor of stability for the region.”
2. PM Modi mentioned that the Indian government has viewed the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to draw out “comprehensive reforms” in all areas. “Very soon its result will be seen at the ground level,” he said.
3. “We have immense possibilities to make our friendship stronger,” Modi said, adding that the strong bond between India and Australia becomes a ‘factor of stability’ for the whole region and for the world.
4. The role of our comprehensive strategic partnership will be more important in this period of global epidemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to get out of the economic and social side effects of this epidemic, the Indian Prime Minister said.
5. On the other hand, PM Scott Morrison said that both India and Australia share a common ocean – the Indian Ocean – and along with it, a shared responsibility for its health, well-being and security. “The relationship we are forming around those issues on our maritime domain, I think is the platform for so many other things between our countries,” he said.
6. PM Morrison also commended the Indian government on its leadership on taking Chair of WHO’s executive board. Remarkably, last month, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was appointed as the Chief of WHO executive board.
7. This is a very important time to be chairing that board and I have no doubt that India’s leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area, PM Morrison said.
8. Notably, in its White Paper on Foreign Policy in 2017, Australia had recognised India as the “pre-eminent maritime power among Indian Ocean countries” and a “front-rank partner of Australia”.
9. Australia has also constantly been supportive of India’s position on cross-border terrorism and on asking Pakistan to take meaningful action against terrorist groups operating from its soil.
10. Australia also co-sponsored UNSC resolution to declare Azhar Masood a global terrorist.