Krishna leaves for New Delhi after concluding Australia visit

Melbourne, Jan 21 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna left for New Delhi on Friday after attending the seventh round of Foreign Ministers Framework Dialogue here during which he discussed regional and bilateral issues with his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd and other leaders.

Earlier on Thursday, Krishna had expressed India's appreciation of Australia's support for New Delhi's quest for becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and support for India's membership of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) last year.

"It is also good to see that our interactions in multilateral fora are growing stronger. We deeply appreciate Australia's support to India's candidature as a Permanent Member of the Security Council," said Krishna, while addressing the seventh India-Australia Ministers Framework Dialogue here.

"We welcome Australia's announcement made at the last East Asia Summit in Hanoi, for creation of an Australian Chair for Ecology and Environment Studies at the Nalanda University," he added.

Committing to further expanding the strategic partnership between India and Australia, Krishna said: "Our relationship already encompasses diverse areas that can act as building blocks for such a partnership."

"Both India and Australia are important members of the G-20 and the East Asia Summit, where we have had substantive interactions. The entry of the US and Russia into EAS is a welcome development," he added.

"We look forward to working closely with you and other like-minded countries towards an open, inclusive and mutually beneficial framework of interactions in the Asia Pacific region," e said

"While the relationship is progressing well, I think it is important to realize that the strategic partnership will not reach its full potential without some progress being made in the area of nuclear energy. I would be interested in hearing from you, at some point today, on how you see the issue evolving in Australia over the next few months," he added.

He further said that India look forward to the next Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting at Perth in October.

"Your Prime Minister has invited our Prime Minister to attend and to combine this with a bilateral visit. Our Prime Minister has accepted the invitation in principle and is looking forward to the visit," he said.

"We very much hope that this works out. If this visit takes place, it would be a very important visit - the first Prime Ministerial visit to Australia in 25 years. It would provide a significant opportunity to take our bilateral relations to a significant level," he added.

During his three-day visit, Krishna also assured the Australian Government that he would take up the matter of non-payment of dues to companies for Commonwealth Games-related work. By Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)

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