Australian PM raises Ukrainian war during virtual summit meet with PM Modi

New Delhi, March 21 : Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday raised the issue of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its possible consequences in the Indo-Pacific region during the virtual bilateral summit with PM Modi today. He also congratulated PM Modi on the recent assembly election victories of the BJP party. Beginning his remarks with the Gujarati greeting of “Kemcho”, PM Scott Morrison said: “I am glad to have this bilateral meeting to take our bilateral cooperation to new heights, but you are already ascending those new heights. I congratulate you on your election victories, in the states recently, and particularly in Goa; That must have been a tremendous victory for you.” Referring particularly to the Ukraine war, he said: “Our meeting comes amidst the distressing backdrop of the war in Europe…. I must thank you for the partnership that we have; while we are obviously distressed at the terrible situation in Europe, our focus of course is very much on ensuring that those could never happen in the Indo Pacific.” “Our region is facing increasing change and much pressure, and the Quad leaders’ call recently gave us the opport ty to discuss Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine,” he said, referring to the virtual meeting held on March 3 between the four Quad leaders. “But it also gave us the opport ty to discuss the implications and consequences of that terrible event for our own region in the Indo Pacific and the coercion and the issues that we face here’ — referring to the downslide in Australia-China ties. “The tragic loss of lives underlies the importance of course of calling Russia to account, and the cooperation between like minded liberal democracies is key to an open, free, resilient and stable Indo-Pacific,” he said. He welcomed PM Modi’s “leadership within the Quad to keeping us focused on those important issues”. Referring to the bilateral ties, he said the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership “reflects the ambitions that we share and we hold for our relationship”. He said both sides have made great progress in defence and maritime cooperation, in science and technology, and added that his country would be happy to cooperate in the sphere of clean energy, and would be happy to announce initiatives in the sphere of energy, and especially critical minerals and rare earths. On the FTA, he said that both sides would redouble their efforts on the interim CECA to unlock new opport ties, which would bring them closer to a full agreement. RN

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