''The growth of the China's economy of about eight or nine per cent a year, a nation of 1.3 billion people, is having a big impact on the Asia Pacific region,'' Mr. Downer said while addressing a meeting of the Australia India Business Council South Australian Chapter at Adelaide yesterday.
Mr Downer admitted that Australia and India have not always enjoyed a close political relationship. But, he urged, it was now in the interests of both the Indian Ocean countries to work together.
The Australian Foreign Minister's statement has come as a sort of surprise for the international affairs experts as China is Australia's major trading partner. The Australian economy is becoming increasingly dependent on the surging demand from China hence such statement is being seen as a departure from the norm.
But India, with its impressive GDP growth rate and second largest population in the world after China, is being seen as an ideal country to balance China's growing influence.
India has also become a large consumer of Australia's natural resources so it is in both countries' interest to ''build solid relationship with China'', Mr Downer told the AIBC meeting yesterday.
''We need a region that is well balanced'' without one power that could ''dominate the region'', he told the council's Adelaide chapter which was launched in Adelaide in August last year.
A trade mission to India in October is being planned by the SA Chapter of the Australia India Business Chamber.
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