Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 15 May 1973
Page: 2053

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Prime Minister. I refer to his proposed visit to India early in June. By way of preface may I recall to the honourable gentleman the close and friendly relations established with India by the previous Government, particularly in our actions in organising recognition of Bangladesh following the India-Pakistan war, the talks held in Washington between the previous Prime Minister, Mr McMahon, and Mrs Gandhi and my own visit as Foreign Minister to New Delhi last year when I had talks with Mrs Gandhi and Mr Swaran Singh, the Indian Foreign Minister. Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether he realises that the way in which he has advanced his proposal for a wide regional association of Asian nations, including the People's Republic of China, with his specific statement that he would in this matter consult with Indonesia and Japan, has caused some offence in India? Will he assure the House that when he visits India he will endeavour to repair any damage he may have done to the excellent relations established by the previous Government?

Mr WHITLAM - I acknowledge the role that the honourable gentleman played when he was my predecessor as Foreign Minister in having Australia recognise the new State of Bangladesh before many of Australia's closest associates had faced up to that situation. I believe that what the honourable gentleman did at that time has produced good relations between Australia and India and Australia and Bangladesh. The honourable gentleman need have no fears that relations with India are in any way reduced in cordiality by the advent of the new Australian Government. Rather, the reverse applies. The cordiality of the messages that I have received from Mrs Gandhi as Prime Minister and from Mr Swaran Singh as Foreign Minister show that the Indian Government welcomes the increasing warmth of relations between Australia and India. It is for that very reason that I have responded to the pressing invitation that I should visit India as soon as possible, lest the Indians have taken it somewhat amiss that no Australian Prime Minister has stopped off in India since 1959.

Suggest corrections