Dr S Jaishankar: Meet-and-greet with Sydney’s Indian community

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“With the likes of you as ambassadors of India, my job becomes easy,” the External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar told his compatriots at a meet-and-greet in Sydney.

Dr Jaishankar was in Australia for the 13th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue with his Australian counterpart Senator Penny Wong. Concluding his first day in Canberra, the Indian minister spent the morning with the Australian Armed Forces, his social media account showing him all kitted up for an army helicopter ride.  Later, an equally significant engagement, this time on the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground, where he went for a walkabout with Aussie cricket legend and Indophile Steve Waugh.

Connecting with the local Indian community that evening, Dr Jaishankar reemphasised the importance which both countries – India and Australia – are giving to the bilateral relationship. The constant interaction of the top political leaders of the two countries in just six months is indicative of that momentum, he said.

India's External Affairs Minister meets Sydney's Indian communityDr S Jaishankar meets

He described the “two pivotal times” in the relationship as the 2014 visit of PM Narendra Modi, and the signing of the recent trade agreement between the two counties.

“Though the trade levels are about $27 billion, I am confident that this will increase strongly as the activities between the two countries have increased,” he said. “Education is one area where both countries are keen to see greater momentum. Australia has some of the best education facilities, and India has a young population keen to benefit from higher education – these are opportunities for both countries.”

He also touched upon the work being done for Indian qualifications to be accepted in Australia, and progress in the discussions on double taxation issues between the two countries.

Sydney's Indian community meet with Ext Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar

Dr Jaishankar also shared the view that while the COVID outbreak, especially the Delta variant, was traumatic for people in India, it also was an opportunity for learning. “Post COVID, medical facilities have been ramped up in India, and some of the earlier initiatives of the Modi government such as encouraging people to open bank accounts helped with relief payments reaching out to millions,” he observed.

Dr S Jaishankar in Sydney with Manpreet Vohra, Manish Gupta and Nimeesha Gupta

He confirmed that India’s exports are growing at their fastest rate ever, whereas other nations are still trying to get to their pre-COVID growth rates.

“At the end of the day, the relationship between two countries is about the connection between their people,” the Minister concluded, urging all to be effective ambassadors of their home country here in Australia.

READ ALSO: India’s External Affairs Minister visits Sydney amid strengthening India-Australia alliance 


Pawan Luthra
Pawan Luthra
Pawan is the publisher of Indian Link and is one of Indian Link's founders. He writes the Editorial section.

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