First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to all the people and families affected by COVID-19 in Australia from my side and the entire India.This global pandemic has affected all types of systems in the world. And this digital form of our summit is an example of similar effects.
Excellency, I am glad to meet you through this digital medium, but also a little bit disappointed, because we did not get an opportunity to warmly welcome you in India.We were waiting for your visit to India first in January and then last month, but unfortunately, we had to postpone both your visits. Our meeting today cannot replace your visiting India. As a friend I urge you to plan a visit to India with family soon and accept our hospitality, once the situation improves.
Excellency, India-Australia relations are wide-ranging and deep.And this depth comes from our shared values, shared interests, shared geography and shared objectives.In the last few years, our cooperation and synergy has gained momentum.It is fortunate that one end of the reins of our relationship is in the hands of a strong and visionary leader like you.I believe that this is the perfect time, the perfect opportunity to further strengthen the relations between India and Australia.
We have immense possibilities to make our friendship stronger. These possibilities also bring challenges with them. There are challenges on how to translate this potential into reality so that links between citizens, businesses, academics, researchers, etc. of both countries become stronger; how our relationship can be a factor of stability for our region and for the world; how we can work together for global good;all these aspects need to be considered.
Excellency, in the contemporary world the expectations of countries from each other, and the expectations of our citizens from us have increased.By sharing democratic values, we both have a duty to live up to these expectations. Therefore, it is our sacred responsibility to uphold and protect the values of global welfare, such as Democracy, Rule of Law, Freedom, Mutual Respect, Respect for International Institutions and Transparency, etc.It is in a way our heritage for the future. Today, when these values are being challenged in different ways, we can strengthen them by strengthening mutual relations.
Excellency, India is committed to expanding its relations with Australia in a comprehensive and quick manner. This is important not only for our two countries but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world.I am happy that our various institutional dialogues are providing more substance to our relations. There are also continuous high-level exchanges between the two countries.Trade and investment are also increasing. But I will not say that I am satisfied with this expansion, and this pace. When a leader like you is leading our friend country, the criteria for the pace of development in our relations should also be ambitious.I am very happy that today we are upgrading our bilateral relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership level.
The role of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will be more important in this period of a global pandemic. The world needs a coordinated and collaborative approach to come out of the economic and social side effects of this pandemic.
Our government has decided to view this crisis as an opportunity. In India, a process of comprehensive reforms has been initiated in almost all spheres. It will soon see results at the ground level. I am especially grateful for the way you have taken care of the Indian community in Australia and especially the Indian students during this tough time.