Foreign Policy Watch: India-Australia

Apr, 24, 2019

[op-ed snap] A natural next step

CONTEXT

This month was a historic moment in the India-Australia bilateral relationship. Under our joint naval exercise known as AUSINDEX, there was the largest ever peacetime deployment of Australian defence assets and personnel to India.The deepening India-Australia security relationship must be seen against the backdrop of expanding bilateral ties.

AUSINDEX

  • The third iteration of our bilateral naval exercise, AUSINDEX, which has just concluded (April 2-16), builds on a fourfold increase in our defence engagement — from 11 defence exercises, meetings and activities in 2014 to 38 in 2018.
  • The Indian Navy’s Eastern Naval Command hosted an impressive array of high-end Australian military hardware, including the Royal Australian Navy’s flagship, HMAS Canberra and the submarine, HMAS Collins.
  • The Canberra is the size of a small aircraft carrier. She can carry over 1,000 troops and 16 helicopters. These vessels were joined by frigates, aircraft and around 1,200 sailors, soldiers and airmen and women.
  • As well as being Australia’s largest defence deployment to India, the exercise was the most complex ever carried out between  defence forces. For the first time, navies undertook anti-submarine warfare exercises.
  • And in a similar show of trust and cooperation, Indian and Australian maritime patrol P-8 aircraft flew coordinated missions over the Bay of Bengal.

Mark of greater alignment

1.Shared Values –

When Australia’s Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, visited India earlier this year, in January, she emphasised on shared outlook as free, open and independent democracies, as champions of international law, as supporters of an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and as firm believers that ‘might is not right’.

2.Indo- Pacific Region –

  • A key element of Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategy is partnering with India in the vibrant Indian Ocean Region.
  • India is a leader in this region and Australia is a natural partner for addressing shared challenges.
  • Together they  must continue to work together to combat transnational crime, terrorism, people smuggling, and illegal fishing, in order to  enjoy a peaceful and prosperous Indian Ocean Region.

3. Indian Ocean Concerns – As the nation with one of the longest Indian Ocean coastlines and with more than half of our goods trade departing Indian Ocean ports, Australia is committed to addressing humanitarian and environmental challenges inIndian Ocean neighbourhood.

Australia’s initiatives in Pacific –

  • Development Aid- In November 2018 Australia announced the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific. This AU$2 billion initiative will boost Australia’s support for infrastructure development in Pacific countries.
  • Security Relationship –Australia will establish a Pacific Fusion Centre to provide real-time surveillance data for countries across the region as well as enhancing policing and military training both bilaterally and through regional centres.
  • Australia is  building diplomatic and economic relationships with Southeast Asia to build resilience and prosperity in region.
  •  The recently announced Southeast Asia Economic Governance and Infrastructure Initiative, worth AU$121 million, will help unlock Southeast Asia’s next wave of economic growth.

Growing links

  • All this activity is happening against the backdrop of a rapidly expanding India-Australia relationship.
  • People-to-people and economic links are on the rise.
  • The Indian diaspora in Australia is both strong and growing.
  • One in 50 Australians today was born in India; almost 90,000 Indian students studied in Australia last year; and over 350,000 tourists visited Australia from India in 2018.
  • We are working together to see India become a top three trading partner for Australia by 2035.

Way Forward

  • So on the one hand, we should welcome the successful AUSINDEX exercise as a step up in our strategic partnership.
  • At the same time, we should recognise it also as the natural next step in a friendship between Australia and India that is marked by growing trust, understanding and camaraderie.

 

Sep, 20, 2016

Indian, Australian artistes come together in Sydney

  1. As a part of the ongoing Confluence- Festival of India in Australia, artistes from across disciplines collaborated with each other
  2. Examples: Aboriginal dancers from Australia shared the stage with the Pung Cholom dancers from India’s Manipur, and a Western a cappella group sang with Indian classical singers
  3. The festival was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2014
May, 07, 2016

Australia offers multiple-entry visa to Indians

  1. A three year multiple entry visitor’s visa to Indians by Australian govt
  2. Now Indians can go to Australia many times on the same visa
  3. Will be implemented from July 2016
  4. Benefit: To boost Australia’s tourism growth
  5. Already implemented in Thailand, Vietnam, Chile
Feb, 11, 2016

India Australia Energy Security Dialogue Held at Canberra

  1. India had an Energy Security Dialogue with Australian Ministry for Resources, Energy and Northern Australia
  2. Ministry of power emphasised the need to make the Energy Dialogue a regular feature with alternate year meetings in each of the 2 countries
  3. During the dialogue, 5 new working groups be set up in the energy field –
  • Renewables and grid integration
  • Clean Coal technologies for efficient power generation
  • Energy Skill development
  • LNG and Coal Gasification
  • Energy efficiency and Smart grids
Feb, 04, 2016

India to defer finalizing trade pact with Australia

India to defer finalizing a trade deal with Australia until the multi-country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks come to a conclusion

  1. Australia is part of the RCEP. India thinks it may lose its leveraging power by finalizing a trade deal ahead of the RCEP deal
  2. A bilateral trade deal with Australia has to be an improvement over the RCEP
  3. Hence, there is no point signing an agreement with Australia ahead of the RCEP deal
  4. Australia has been very keen to sign the agreement but both sides missed the December target
  5. Australian trade minister Andrew Robb visited India four times in 2015 to convince India to fast-track the trade deal
Nov, 17, 2015

India, Australia seal N-deal procedures

  1. The procedures for a civil nuclear agreement with Australia for supply of uranium has been completed.
  2. This opens doors for the much-needed uranium supply for India’s nuclear reactors.
  3. India will be the I country to buy Australian uranium without being a signatory to the NPT.
  4. The significant part of the agreement is that Australia agreed to become a long-term reliable supplier of uranium to India.
Oct, 28, 2015

Nuclear pact with India to be ready soon, says Australia

Sep, 10, 2015

Australian panel gives conditional nod for N-deal

Sep, 03, 2015

Economic cooperation top priority: Australia

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