Oz-Indian Peter Varghese appointed new Australian envoy to India

June 8th, 2009 - 6:50 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne June 8 (ANI): Peter Varghese, Australia’s top spy has been appointed the new high commissioner to India.

Varghese will take over from John McCarthy, who will retire from the post in August.

He is currently the head of the Office of National Assessments (ONA).

While announcing Verghese’s appointment, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said Australia’s ties with India was expanding rapidly primarily due to its growing economic and strategic importance and influence.

Smith said India and Australia are also closely associated with each other on strategic and defence issues.

“Military engagement occurs across the full range of activities, including ship visits, service-to-service level talks, professional exchanges and research and development collaboration,” The Australian quoted Smith, as saying.

“In 2008 Australia and India decided to step up strategic cooperation by holding annual talks between the chiefs of our defence forces, and by strengthening intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation,” he added.

The otherwise cordial relationship between India and Australia has been soured in the recent past with a series of racial attacks on Indian students Down Under.

The billion dollar student market in Australia is also under threat due to the recent spate of attacks on Indian students in Melbourne and Sydney. (ANI)

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