Melbourne: Describing its relationship with Australia as “unproblematic”, India has said ties are progressing well and that it needs to step up engagement with the resource-rich country.

Acknowledging that bilateral ties have not realised their full potential, External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said, “We (in India) need to put a lot more energy into the relationship with Australia.”

“The relationship has enormous potential. We need to lean heavily on the natural resources of Australia, particularly in coal and some other minerals, which you have in abundance. We need to work more closely with Australia. We have spent a lot of time in ASEAN, in Europe, with the (Persian) Gulf  countries, because of our energy,” he said.

Khurshid said he would urge Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit Australia before the general elections in India next year.

“I will certainly urge the Prime Minister to look for a slot before the election season,” he said in an interview to The Australian newspaper.

Khurshid also pointed out, “We have an unproblematic relationship with Australia. You are attracting a lot of Indian students. This will bond us together for generations.

India and Australia can also play a very major role together in the Indian Ocean.”

On India’s current economic health, Khurshid said, “Five per cent (growth) is good enough for some nations, but we need 8 per cent and we will get 8 per cent.”

He said that the government was determined to introduce a raft of measures to attract foreign investment.

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