New Delhi, Jan 17: Australia today said it was pushing for making India a member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) as it wanted New Delhi to play a more active role in the region.
''We want to encourage India's role in the region and have taken a stand to even more actively support India's case for an APEC membership,'' Australian Trade Minister Simon Crean told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. He said APEC represented the fastest growing region in the world and provided opportunities to leaders of countries to get together and discuss issues annually.
''As a lot of the issues that have to be addressed need political will, such meetings between world leaders are important. In our view, India should be included in the body,'' he added.
The visiting minister also said that Australia was interested in pursuing a free trade agreement with India.
''Top priority would, however, be accorded to achieving an outcome in the multilateral rounds.
''As world trade is growing at twice the rate of world output, multilateral talks will provide opportunities to countries which are growing economically and industrialising to get better access to markets,'' he said.
The biggest benefits will be derived from the multilateral rounds, Doha talks, and liberalisation, he added.
He said Australia was keen on using bilateral relationships to achieve an outcome in the Doha talks.