Australia and India promise to strengthen security and economic ties
According to Anthony Albanese, Australian Prime Minister, India and Australia have agreed to speed up a more comprehensive economic partnership and strengthen their defence ties.
The two countries signed a free marketing agreement last year. It was called the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement. This is the first time India has signed a contract with a developed nation in a decade.
The negotiations on a more extensive Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement have been ongoing for over a decade. The talks between the two countries were restarted in 2011 but were stopped in 2016 due to gridlock.
Negotiations were resumed in 2021, but no deal has been reached.
Albanese, who was in India on Friday, said they also reached an agreement on the quick conclusion of our ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. He expressed hope that completing that by this year would be possible.
“This transformative deal will realize the full potential of bilateral economic relations, creating new employment opportunities for Australia and India and raising living standards for both countries.”
He stated that Australia and India had made “significant and important” progress in strengthening their security and defence ties and addressing climate change issues.
Bilateral trade between India and the United States was $27.5 billion in 2021. India claims business could nearly double to $50bn within five years of the ECTA.
India was Australia’s ninth-largest trading partner in 2022, and the two countries hope to double their trade over the next five years.
According to the Global Trade Research Initiative, India’s total exports to Australia were $8.3bn. In 2021-22, India’s imports stood at $16.7bn.
India exports various products, including agriculture, garments, railway engines, and telecom. However, 95 per cent of India’s imports to Australia are raw materials and mine products that India needs.
Through the Quad group, India and Australia are security allies. This includes Japan and the United States. This alliance is a bulwark for China’s assertiveness within the Indo-Pacific region.
Albanese visited India on Thursday and received a reception aboard the INS Vikrant (India’s first aircraft carrier). He also announced new joint military drills.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that security cooperation was an essential pillar of the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Australia at a joint press conference on Friday after a private meeting.
Modi made the statement in response to recent attacks on Hindu temples across Australia, where Indian immigrants comprise the second-largest population. According to media reports, the attacks were perpetrated by separatist Sikh groups.
Modi stated that Albanese had assured him that the safety of the Indian community was a top priority.
Friday’s meeting was held a day after leaders viewed the opening session of the fourth cricket Test in a stadium named Modi in Gujarat, his home state.
At the start of the match, both men did a lap in honour on a golf-themed cart. Australia is trying to avoid a loss in the series, and India needs to win to qualify for the World Test Championship.
Albanese told reporters, “We are competing on cricket fields to be the best in the world, but together we’re building a better world.”
Albanese will fly out of New Delhi Saturday morning to host Modi in Australia at the next Quad leaders’ meeting, which takes place in May.