MELBOURNE, Feb 11: Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs, Alex Hawke MP joined with Indian External Minister, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar to discuss challenges and opportunities for Australia’s growing Indian diaspora, and to engage with members of the Indian Australian community in Victoria.
Ministers met ahead of the fourth Quad Foreign Ministers’ meeting to discuss issues including changes in the Indo-Pacific region, the important contribution of the Indian diaspora in Australia, the reopening of Australia’s international border, and celebrations to mark this year’s 75th anniversary of Indian Independence.
“Today’s discussion emphasised the importance of India to both Australia and the world, changes in the region over the coming years, and the role of the Indian-Australian community in strengthening our relationship further,” Minister Hawke said.
“This year, as India celebrates 75 years of Independence, we also celebrate 75 years of friendship and partnership between our two nations – founded on our shared ideals of democracy, freedom and inclusion,” he said.
Minister Hawke also attended the Australia India Institute’s launch of the India Matters program, which included a keynote address by Minister Jaishankar.
“The Australia India Institute plays a critical role in promoting and enhancing our important relationship with India. I am sure the India Matters program will help to foster more conversations and more bonds between our nations,” Minister Hawke said.
Minister Hawke also joined with Assistant Multicultural Affairs Minister, Jason Wood MP and leaders of the Indian Australian community in Victoria to discuss issues impacting them and their communities.
“COVID-19 definitely changed the way Australians communicate with one another, so it was great to be able to meet with community leaders in person, to listen to their questions and concerns and to thank them for their extraordinary efforts over the last two years,” he said.
“The pandemic has once again shown us the power and reach of community organisations in bringing people together,” he said.
“Community leaders and organisations, particularly in Victoria, have shown a great sense of civic responsibility and resilience as they support those around them to feel safe, connected and informed,” Minister Hawke said.