India – Aussie Bhai Bhai ?

Aha, this is something. After all the dust raised by Australian Prime Minister, John Howard and his ministers vowing not to sell any uranium to India, it looks like the big brother America’s push seems to have done the trick.

Australia woos India with new strategic initiative

MELBOURNE: Intending to radically reshape its ties with India, Australia has endorsed a new strategic plan that proposes a raft of measures, including active diplomatic support for New Delhi’s bid for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council and negotiating an FTA. The submission by Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was endorsed by a full Cabinet, ‘The Australian’ reported on Monday.

The strategy contains specific initiatives and is designed to elevate the India relationship to a core element in Australia’s international orientation, along with the US, Japan, China and Indonesia, it said. Apart from allowing the export of uranium – approval for which was announced last week by Howard – the recommendations include formal and active diplomatic support for India’s bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

This is a move that indicates Canberra’s elevation of India to core relationship status, the daily said. Australia has been a supporter of Japan becoming a permanent member of the Security Council and the Howard government in the past has also suggested Indonesia should acquire such status.

Apart from the obvious synergy in energy trade, the familiar common-law system in India and its dazzling success in IT mean that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) should also provide enormous opportunities for Australian companies in the services sector which could be worth billions of dollars, the daily said. Surprised at how rapidly the Indian economy has grown, the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Howard wants to enhance relations with the country.

News courtesy: Times of India