Bilateral ties have hit a sweet spot: Outgoing Australian envoy

New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Australian High Commissioner Patrick Suckling, whose India stint concludes on January 26, on Monday said he was glad to be leaving the bilateral relations at a high point.

During his three-year term, relations between India and Australia went from strength to strength, including the finalisation of a civil nuclear cooperation agreement, paving the way for commercial exports of uranium from Australia to India.

“The relationship between Australia and India has never been better. This relationship has hit a sweet spot and, what’s more, there are still immense opportunities awaiting us,” Suckling said in a farewell statement.

Describing India as “vibrant, beautiful and complex”, Suckling said he appreciated the chance he got to meet people across the length and breadth of the country.

“I do have a very strong affinity with India. It’s been a country that I have been coming to for 30 years, first as a student and later as a diplomat. I got my first posting in India in the 1990s as a junior diplomat. My first child was ‘made in India,’ and I have worked on most major strategies to do with India throughout my career,” he said.

Suckling said that after being on different trajectories for decades, Australian and Indian interests had begun to converge in the last 15 years.

“Australia and India are natural economic partners, particularly in areas such as energy security, agriculture, infrastructure, skills development and education,” Suckling observed.

He said defence cooperation was a good example of the progress in relations.

“Australia and India took part in their first bilateral military exercises last year. At an officials level, our armies meet, our navies meet, our air forces meet, and there is strong ministerial engagement,” he noted.

–Indo-Asian New Service