Our strategic partnership will be more important during COVID-19 period: PM Modi to Oz counterpart

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi in talks with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison on Thursday focused on the importance of a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations, especially during the COVID-19 period.

He also called for a coordinated and collaborative approach to overcome the economic and social side effects of the pandemic.

“The role of our comprehensive strategic partnership will be more important in this period of the global epidemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to overcome the economic and social side effects of this epidemic,” the Prime Minister said.

He said that the Indian government has decided to view this crisis as an opportunity. “In India, a process of comprehensive reforms has been initiated in almost all areas. It will soon see results at the ground level,” the Prime Minister added.

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He said that this global epidemic has affected every type of system in the world and the digital conversation between the two leaders is an example of similar effects.

The Prime Minister pointed out that the visit of his Australian counterpart had been cancelled twice this year and urged on him to plan a family visit soon. “As a friend, I urge you to plan a family visit to India soon after the situation improves and accept our hospitality,” he told Morrison.

“I believe that this is the perfect time, the perfect opportunity to further strengthen the relations between India and Australia. We have infinite possibilities to make our friendship stronger. How our relationships become a ‘factor of stability’ for our region and for the world, how we work together for global good, all these aspects need to be considered,” the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister pointed out that India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace. This is important not only for our two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world, stressed Modi, adding further that Australia is one of India’s friends. “So the criteria for the pace of development in our relations should also be ambitious,” he said.

The Prime Minister also expressed his heartfelt condolences to all the people and families affected by COVID-19 in Australia on behalf of the people of India.

This is the first virtual summit between the two leaders. Morrison was scheduled to visit India earlier this year but his trip was cancelled due to the bushfires in Australia.

The two Prime Ministers earlier had a telephonic conversation on 6th April 2020, where they discussed the ongoing COVID-19, including facilitation and support for citizens stranded in each other’s country.

The virtual summit provides an opportunity for the two leaders to review the broad framework of the relationship, in the context of growing ties between India and Australia, and to discuss their respective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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