The Australian envoy to India, Barry O’Farrell, has said that under the leadership of new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Canberra would like to “accelerate the economic partnership”. Speaking to our Principal Diplomatic Correspondent Sidhant Sibal exclusively, envoy Barry said, “Strong message that despite the change of government within democracies, the commitment can be maintained.”
PM Albanese and PM Modi held a bilateral meeting in Tokyo on Tuesday on the sidelines of the quad summit. This was the first bilateral between the two sides since Albanese’s election victory over the weekend.
Sidhant Sibal: How do you see Quad outcomes?
Barry O’Farrell: Further progress at the Quad Leaders’ meeting. This is only the fourth, the second in person, and again demonstrated that Quad is committed to practical measures to try and improve the future measures in the Indo-Pacific region.
Sidhant Sibal: Now that the new Australian PM has met the Indian PM, how do you see the trajectory between the two countries?
Barry O’Farrell: A strong message that despite the change of government, within democracies, the commitment can be maintained. PM , within hours of being sworn in, jumped on a plane to Tokyo to meet with PM Modi, other members of the quad, a clear demonstration of our commitment to the Quad. And secondly, our foreign minister, who accompanied him, had her first bilateral meeting with anybody—with Dr Jaishankar, which again demonstrates the strength of the Australia-India relationship.
Sidhant Sibal: What can we expect under the new leadership in Australia when it comes to India?
Barry O’Farrell: The Australian PM has already been clear what he likes to do is, to further accelerate the economic partnership between both countries. Also, partnership in relation to renewable energy. India is doing enormous things across the country in terms of switching towards renewables. Australia believes we can not only assist that but can learn from India that we are doing the same thing back home.
Sidhant Sibal: Australia hosts the quad summit next year. What will be the key areas of focus?
Barry O’Farrell: I think, clearly, the role of the Quad–core areas–will be to practically support the region. From cyber security to maritime security or climate change, vaccines or health issues, those issues do not have a finish line, but at the heart of the quad is a commitment to a free, open, and secure Indo Pacific. That is the vision we share with other countries in the region who want to sign up to a world in which sovereign nations are respected, where there is freedom and openness within the countries.