India-Australia should build relationship beyond business: Modi to Robb

Looking forward to extending India- Australia ties beyond the ambit of business, Australian minister for Trade and Investment Andrew Robb said on Tuesday that New Delhi and Canberra were both eager and willing to take their relations to the next level.

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Robb said, “I was honoured to meet with Prime Minister Modi. We talked about how Australia and India can take our relationship, which has always been strong, to another level because of the ambitions he has, and because his agenda that excites the world.” Robb also said Modi wanted the relationship to be much broader than just business, extending into cultural, the arts, theatre, music and sports. “Australia is a great sporting nation and Modi said one of the things he was concerned about was that many Indians did not have the opportunity to play the sports that are available,” he added.

Robb also participating in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Limited (IL-FS) and Sports Education and Development Australia (SEDA) for skill development and infrastructure in sports.

Speaking of the great sporting traditions of Australia, Robb said that his nation’s athletes have benefitted from a strong infrastructure in place, adding that Prime Minister Modi wants a similar structure to come up in India. “India plays cricket very well and that has been a sport of great competition, but the Prime Minister and I spoke of sport more generally and he said that he would love to see many of the skills that we have had the benefit of in Australia made available to young people in particular across India,” he said.

“Sport gives hope to one and all; it gives them fitness. It gives them teamwork and teaches them about losing. India is at the cusp of great things, and not only in business but in the social sciences, in education, health and so on, but also in sports and culture. This is a country with such a rich history and I do feel that if you look back over the past 20 centuries, India was part of the centre of gravity of the world for 18 of those. And now, I think, India and China are returning to that stature,” he added.

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