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1st India-Australia Annual Summit

Niti Post - March 10, 2023

With a special emphasis on an early conclusion of the ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, India and Australia today etched another landmark in their ‘multifaceted’ ties.

The two countries, with their leaders’ (PM Modi and PM Albanese) taking centre stage, reaffirmed the shared commitment towards a deepening of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership today at 1st India-Australia Annual Summit, wherein the leaders also deliberated on the gamut of the India-Australia relationship while also focusing on an extensive agenda covering bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues.

Elaborating on the details, the Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “Delegation level talks led by PMs Narendra Modi and Anthony Albanese get underway. An extensive agenda is on the table, focusing on economy & trade, defence & security, S&T, energy, education, mobility and diaspora, as well as regional & multilateral issues.”

Following the conclusion of the talks, both leaders addressed a joint press conference, where they specifically elaborated on the topics discussed for the increased cooperation between the two nations. PM Albanese said defence and security are significant pillars amid the increasingly uncertain global security situation.

With a focus on boosting overall bilateral engagement in areas of defence, trade, and security cooperation, the two sides today also exchanged MoUs in sports and audio-visual co-production and terms of reference for the Solar Taskforce.

Notably, India and Australia are witnessing a significant increase in their bilateral ties. Significantly, the Trade Agreement (ECTA), which came into force last year, has opened up better opportunities for trade and investment between the two countries. The two countries have also made significant agreements in the last few years, specifically in the area of defence, including increased logistical support for their respective armies and a regular and useful information exchange between their security agencies.

PM Modi, during the talks with his Australian counterpart, also issued concerns over the temple vandalism by pro-Khalistani outfits and the violence targeting the Indian community & temples in Australia. In a joint address, further speaking of PM Albanese’s response, PM Modi said that the Australian PM has assured him of the Indian community’s safety, and both teams will be in regular touch on this subject, and will cooperate as much as possible. Pertinently, the issue came amidst the increasing incidents of vandalism against Hindu temples in Australia.

Of the other major issues discussed, both leaders also extended invitations to each other to pay official visits to India (PM Albanese for the G20 Summit in September) and Australia (PM Modi for the Quad Leaders’ Summit in May). The two leaders also discussed cooperation in the critical mineral supply chain.

Earlier in the day, PM Modi welcomed PM Albanese on his maiden visit to New Delhi, where the latter was accorded a ceremonial guard of welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan. Pertinently, this was the second high-level engagement between the two leaders, since the Australian PM’s visit to India. The two Prime Ministers visited the Narendra Modi stadium in Ahmedabad yesterday and witnessed a few overs of the India vs. Australia Test Match, highlighting the growing bonhomie with a reflection of affection and friendship.

The visiting Australian PM, along with holding a meeting with External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, also laid a wreath at the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial in Raj Ghat today. Paying his obeisance, the Australian PM Albanese said, “Mahatma Gandhi was one of the most significant figures of the 20th century. Here in New Delhi, Raj Ghat is a memorial dedicated to his legacy. It was an honour to lay wreath here, and represent Australia in paying tribute to Gandhi.”

On the sidelines of his visit, the Australian PM has also chaired several key meetings focusing on India-Australia cooperation in various sectors, including renewable energy, education, trade, etc. Yesterday, in Mumbai, PM Albanese also chaired the India-Australia CEO Forum along with Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal.



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