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Australia, India working on large bilateral agenda: Suri

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Navdeep SuriMelbourne: Australia and India have a “very large” bilateral agenda and ties have grown tremendously in the past few months, raising hopes that dialogues in defence and security sector would be further intensified.

“The relationship is really on the up and we have to invest a lot of time in doing work here,” the new Indian High Commissioner to Australia Navdeep Suri said.

“After Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi) visit, our relationship has really grown and we are struggling to cope…

It is a happy situation that there is a very large bilateral agenda,” Suri added.

The new envoy was being felicitated here by Indian community at a function organised by Federation of Indian Associations of Victoria (FIAV).

Suri informed the group that the two countries were working on free trade agreement which has progressed after the two rounds of discussions which have been held in the past.

“The free trade agreement has also made progress with the two sides agreeing on 1,800 line items… And it is just a small part of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,” Suri said.

The two sides were also holding regular dialogues in defence and security sector which would intensify in coming months, Suri indicated.

He pointed out the visit of two Indian Navy Ships (INS) Satpura and Kamorta to Perth early this month.

The arrival of the two Indian Navy Ships also coincided with a visit by Indian Navy’s Eastern Naval Commander Vice Admiral Satish Soni, who was in Perth to hold discussions and make preparations ahead of the Royal Australian Navy’s first bilateral maritime exercise with India.

The exercise will be held in September in the Eastern Fleet exercise areas off the east coast of India.

“This week, we have talks between our two navies and we are going to be preparing for our first-ever bilateral maritime exercise that will take place in Bay of Bengal in September,” Suri informed.

The two sides were also expected to hold an annual discussion over defence policy later this month which will assist in setting up roadmap on defence collaboration.

Apart from that, Suri said that Indian senior officials also attended in the Sydney’s regional summit on counter terrorism and a?large team from India was expected to attend the working group on resource and minerals in Brisbane.

Suri was recently appointed as the High Commissioner to Australia earlier this year in February.


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