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Pity India couldn't enter APEC: Australian envoy

business Updated: Sep 30, 2007 00:13 IST

IANS
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Australian High Commissioner to India John McCarthy welcomed India's growth and added that it was indeed a "pity" that the South Asian country could not enter the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) grouping this year.

McCarthy was speaking at a two-day seminar organised by the Australian High Commission on "Asian Century: Driving Global Trends".

Experts at the seminar, which began Friday, discussed diverse issues of interest to India and Asia. It included discussions on India's changing relations with southeast Asia and east Asia, Australia's position on resources and how growing regional economies are competing with each other for resources.

McCarthy emphasised that a "new power structure" had emerged in the Asia Pacific region in the last five years and how countries like Australia have shifted their focus from north Asia to south Asia.

"It's a pity that there was not sufficient consensus among members that India be allowed to join the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation," the envoy said, adding that had India joined, "It would have been positive for India, it would have been positive for APEC".

Japan was no longer the most economically powerful nation in Asia, and India and China have risen and continue on their growth trajectory, he noted.

"Most people want to see a multi-polar Asia, no one here wants a uni-polar Asia. In the Australian perspective, the growth of India is welcome," the envoy said.

"What has come home to me is that there is a greater degree of interaction in the sub-region. Earlier north Asia, Japan and China were the focus of attention...now China is talking to India as are the Japanese and the Koreans," he said, noting that the Japanese were investing heavily in India.

There is also not enough realisation of Australia's role in Asean, McCarthy pointed out, stressing that his country has been the region's biggest "resource" provider for decades.

Australia had very good economic relations with north and east Asia, and had provided 80 percent of Japan's resources in its post-World War development. It has also been the biggest contributor to South Korea's resources and then to China's.

"Now, India is Australia's fourth largest export market," McCarthy said. "Our relationships (with Asian countries) are being understood ... maybe it is the beginning of a relationship with India," McCarthy said.