Australian PM wants new high in ties with India

February 21st, 2008 - 3:33 pm ICT by admin  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, Feb 21 (IANS) Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has reiterated the government’s resolve to take the bilateral relationship with India to a new high, but ruled out expanding the trilateral security dialogue between Australia, the US and Japan to include India. In an interview on Australian foreign policy to Jim Middleton on ABC Radio Canberra’s “Newshour” programme, Rudd said: “I welcome the current level of dialogue and cooperation between those three governments (Washington, Tokyo and Canberra). But I believe that’s where it most appropriately should stand into the future.”

Last year, China was irked at Japan’s moves to expand the strategic dialogue to include India.

Rudd told ABC Radio Canberra: “When it comes to other proposals I have seen, which is to somehow quadrilateralise this and involve India, I have also been very plain and blunt about the fact I don’t think that’s an appropriate direction for us to go at this stage. I don’t think our friends in New Delhi would particularly welcome that as well.”

He reiterated that Australia needed to do more to further strengthen the bilateral relationship with India.

Rudd said: “I say at the same time that I am absolutely determined to take our relationship with New Delhi from here to there, through injecting an enormous amount of effort into expanding our relationship with the subcontinent.

“It is a relationship which many governments in the past have tried to accelerate and expand, and I don’t make any particular criticism of predecessor governments, but I think we can do much better and I intend to do so.”

Rudd also told ABC Radio Canberra that it was necessary for India and China to be full partners in the global cooperation required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“If you look at it quantitatively we cannot have an effective long term compact on this unless you have as participants the United States of America, the Peoples Republic of China and India. The maths speaks for itself in terms of emission quantum,” he said.

“Therefore, the problem we face at present is the United States isn’t on the cart. China and India, we need to have more on the cart, in order to produce a real global outcome,” Rudd said, adding that the so-called Bali Roadmap had provided “us with a negotiating opportunity with Beijing and New Delhi to work through some of these challenges”.

In April 2007, Australia’s provincial governments, at the request of the then Rudd-led opposition Australian Labour Party, had commissioned economist Ross Garnaut to undertake a study about the economic impact of climate change on the country. Rudd, on becoming prime minister in December last year, had confirmed the participation of the federal government in the review.

The interim report of the Garnaut Climate Change Review delivered Thursday said Australia should commit itself this year to a 2020 greenhouse target.

In a statement, Garnaut said: “Australia should be ready to go beyond its stated 60 percent reduction target by 2050 in an effective global agreement that includes developing nations. It is in Australia’s interests for the world to adopt a strong and effective position on climate change mitigation.”

Surrounded by developing nations, which are likely to be adversely affected by climate change, Garnaut said Australia was more vulnerable to climate change than other developed nations, but in better position to convert strong action on climate change into economic opportunity.

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