Canberra, Nov 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov 18 said Australia will not be at the periphery of India's vision but at the centre of its thought, as he called for closer bilateral security cooperation and a comprehensive global strategy to tackle the menace of terrorism.
Modi, while addressing the Australian Parliament, the first Indian Prime Minister to do so, said, "It has taken a Prime Minister of India 28 years to come to Australia. It should never have been so. And, this will change. Australia will not be at the periphery of our vision, but at the centre of our thought."
Modi addressed the Parliament after holding bilateral talks with Prime Minister Tony Abbott following which the two countries signed five pacts on social security, transfer of sentenced prisoners, combating narcotics trade, tourism, and Arts and Culture.
During the talks, the two sides sought an early conclusion of negotiations for a comprehensive economic partnership agreement and a closure on the civil nuclear deal. Addressing the Parliament, Modi said terrorism has become a major threat. "In India, we have seen its face closely for three decades. And, we see it with the clarity that comes with it.
Terrorism is changing in character and expanding in its reach," Modi said. "Internet has made recruitment and call to violence self-generated. It also feeds off money laundering, drug trafficking and arms smuggling. We have to deepen our bilateral security cooperation. But, we need a comprehensive global strategy for a global problem," he said.
In order to tackle the new security challenges, Modi sought closer security cooperation, a policy of no distinction between terrorist groups or discrimination between nations, a resolve to isolate those who harbour terrorists, willingness to empower states that will fight them, a social movement against extremism in countries where it is most prevalent and every effort to delink religion and terrorism.
"India sees Australia as one of our foremost partners in the region. There are few countries in the world where we see so much synergy as we do in Australia," Modi said.
The Prime Minister also called for support for the process of economic integration across the region and an open global trading system that remains integrated. "We must guard against regional trade initiatives becoming instruments of political competition. However, economic integration by itself won't be a strong basis for peace and stability, without strong regional institutions," Modi said.