Sydney, Jan 24 : The dispute between the Australian and Indian cricket teams, in the aftermath of Harbhajan-Symonds spat during the Sydney Test, could have adversely affect the bilateral ties between the two countries at a time when Canberra's priority was to deepen ties with New Delhi, feared Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith last week.
Underscoring the importance the Kevin Rudd government placed on relations with India, Smith said Australia supports India to have a permanent seat on any newly constituted United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
"On India the cricket was potentially a worry because if cooler heads hadn't prevailed and the two teams stepped back, and if we hadn't seen such a terrific Test in Perth, then the potential was there for that to spill out sort of more broadly into the relationship, because cricket is such a fundamental part of Indian society, just as it's very important in Australia," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Smith as saying.
Apart from economic imperatives, Australia's relationship with India is critical for ensuring Canberra is not left out of any emerging multi-nation groupings aimed at fostering security in the North Asian region.
Story first published: Thursday, January 24, 2008, 15:08 [IST]
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