Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison reaffirmed strong bilateral ties with India

Melbourne: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday wished Prime Minister Narendra Modi on India's 75th Independence Day, reaffirming the strong bilateral ties, especially the partnership in advancing an "open and free" Indo-Pacific.

In a video message posted on his twitter account, PM Morrison greeted the Indian community with a "Namaste" and said that the two countries are proud democracies and the ties that bind the two nations are strong, vibrant and enduring.

"Wishing my dear friend @narendramodi, the people of India and our Australian Indian community, a joyous Independence Day. We cherish our close partnership with India, built on trust, respect and shared values. Happy Independence Day," he tweeted.
"Our relationship, our comprehensive strategic partnership, is an Indo-Pacific partnership, working for openness, freedom, prosperity and advancing the common good of the Indo-Pacific region," he said.

PM Morrison said that shared values of respect, responsibility and the rule of law are the foundations of the great friendship between the two countries, "something I share of course with your Prime Minister who is a great partner in the important work that we are doing in the region and all around the world."

He said that Indians have built wonderful lives in Australia and in turn they have given so much to the country in terms of language, history, faith, culture, music, arts and food.

Scott Morrison said that India and Australia have stood firmly with each other in the sad times of the pandemic.

He said that India shared COVID-19 vaccination right across the Indo-Pacific despite the challenges India is facing at home and Australia joins with the same sense of urgency and responsibility for the region.

Acknowledging that the Indian community in Australia has felt the intense pain of separation during the pandemic, he appreciated the sacrifices made by the community to keep Australia safe.

"We know better times are ahead and we can look forward with hope and the key to that is getting vaccinated. We are making great progress with our vaccination programme as it continues to increase in supply and points of presence and I encourage you to go, you and your family, to get vaccinated wherever you are in the country," he said.

He urged the people in Australia to keep the Independence Day celebrations subdued due to the COVID-19, particularly in areas affected by lockdown.

"This year, especially in the capital cities, celebration of independence will of course be subdued, particularly those areas affected by lockdown. Please don't gather together in household groups or anything like that if you are in a city affected by lockdown, particularly in Sydney.

"Please observe those rules. There will be a time when you can come together at a much safer point of time where one can celebrate such important milestones," he said.

"But we will come together on that day in spirit and we will reaffirm our friendship and honour the values that we share. I am looking forward to our 2022 celebrations," he said.

According to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus data, Australia has a total number of 39,097 COVID-19 cases and 958 deaths.