Australia- India relations
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
India opposes Australian entry in Malabar exercise; holds other exercises with Australia
New Delhi may have rebuffed Australia’s request that it be allowed to take part in the annual trilateral Malabar naval wargames that India holds with the US and Japan, but will be dispatching four Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets and a C-17 Globemaster-III strategic airlift aircraft to the country to participate in the multilateral “Pitch Black” air combat exercise.
This will be India’s first appearance in the Pitch Black exercise hosted by Australia once every two years, usually including the US, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore and Thailand, among other countries.
The exercise, which will witness participation by over 100 aircraft, will be held at the Royal Australian Air Force bases at Tindal and Darwin from July 27 to August 17 this year. It will be IAF’s third multilateral exercise in the last three years, after the Red Flag exercise in the US in April-May 2016 and the Blue Flag wargames at Israel in November 2017.
“With a range of realistic threats that can be found in modern-day air warfare, Pitch Black is the biggest air combat exercise in the southern hemisphere. Australia had first invited the IAF for the exercise in 2016 but that did not work out. This time, it’s all systems go,” said an official.
India and Australia, with their expanding strategic ties, already hold a joint naval exercise called AUSINDEX, the first edition of which was held off Visakhapatnam in 2015 and the second off Fremantle in 2017.
As earlier reported by TOI, India has for now opposed the inclusion of Australia in the trilateral Malabar exercise. Warships, submarines and aircraft from India, the US and Japan are all set to kick off another edition of the top-notch Malabar exercise off Guam in the Western Pacific from June 6 to 15. China, incidentally, had lodged a strong protest against the Malabar exercise in the Bay of Bengal in 2007 when it had been expanded to include Australia and Singapore as well.
1st-ever India economic strategy released
Focuses On 10 Sectors & 10 States
Australia released an unprecedented India economic strategy on Thursday, which aims to put substance into a growing strategic relationship between the two countries.
The lead author of the strategy, Peter Varghese, former foreign secretary and envoy to India had been tasked with this project by the Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The economic strategy paper comes soon after the foreign policy white paper by the Australian government, which made a big space for relations with India, pushing India to among Australia’s top strategic partnerships. The strategy prioritises economic and trade opportunities in India across 10 states, covering 10 sectors, and according to the report, “designed to plug Australian business into India’s growth story to 2035, matching Australian strengths with Indian priorities.” The strategy charts out the big picture in the Indian economic and political landscape in the coming decade.
Indian diaspora in Australia are expected to play a big role in building these economic linkages, says the report, highlighting the importance of the 7,00,000-strong Indian-origin population there. At 3% of the Australian population, Indians are the fastest growing diaspora. “The Strategy recommends that Australia strive by 2035 to lift India into its top three export markets and make India the third largest destination in Asia for outward Australian investment. This would see Australian exports to India treble to around $45 billion, and investment to India rise 10 times to over the $100 billion mark.”
Australia’s trade minister, Steven Ciobo was quoted as saying, “India’s scale alone encourages ambition, but it is the complementarities between our two economies that will determine our success.”
In his report, Varghese says India has always been described as “too hard” by Australian business. That, he says, must change.
He adds that the Australian government needs to place a sharper focus on India. They will also require an approach to the investment relationship with India that markedly differs from the trajectory of Australian investment in most other Asian markets.” This is largely because, as the report observes, India marches to its own tune, which makes it difficult to replicate approaches. The report identifies 10 sectors in the Indian market where Australia has competitive advantages.
2019: Thrust on defence ties
India and Australia held the third edition of India-Australia Foreign and Defence Secretaries’ Dialogue (2+2) here. Both countries agreed to further enhance defence and security cooperation to ensure peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific and sought to prepare the ground for Australian PM Scott Morrison’s visit to India next month.
Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale and defence secretary Ajay Kumar led the Indian delegation for 2+2, while the Australian delegation was led by Frances Adamson, secretary, department of foreign affairs and Greg Moriarty, secretary, department of defence.
The delegation later called on foreign minister S Jaishankar. The Indian side reiterated its concerns about Pakistan’s support to cross-border terrorism.
“The two sides welcomed the recent progress made in deepening bilateral, political, economic, security and defence cooperation. They discussed recent regional and global developments. They also exchanged views on achieving their shared objective of peace, prosperity and progress in the Indo-Pacific region,” said the government in a statement.
The two sides also emphasised the need for enhanced collaboration to counter the threat of terrorism and violent extremism through increased information sharing. The 2+2 meeting provided opportunities for the two sides to review the status of their bilateral relationship in the context of emerging scenarios.
India, Australia become strategic allies
India and Australia elevated their ties to a ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’ as the first virtual summit between PM Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison saw the two countries sign nine agreements, including an important Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) that will allow the navies to cooperate closely.
The convergence came even as both countries have been at the receiving end of Chinese aggression, India on the northern borders and Australia threatened with economic action for demanding an international inquiry into the origin of the Covid-19 virus. MLSA is a significant step forward.It allows India a strategic access deep into the Indo-Pacific region. It is an indication of the strategic confluence between India and Australia, particularly in the face of an aggressive and expansionist China. Asked by journalists, MEA’s secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh, however, said there was “no discussion on China”. She added that there was no discussion on “any specific naval exercise”, when asked whether India had invited Australia to the Malabar exercises. Among the more important decisions was one that elevated the 2+2 dialogue from the secretary level to the ministerial level. A statement on strategic partnership said, “India and Australia share a vision of a free, open, inclusive and rulesbased Indo-Pacific region to support the freedom of navigation, over-flight and peaceful and cooperative use of the seas by adherence of all nations to international law including the UN convention on the law of the sea and peaceful resolution of disputes.”
The India-Australia summit comes against the backdrop of both dealing with Chinese subversive activities — India with Chinese intrusions in Ladakh and Australia with Chinese influencepeddling operations, which have led to China stopping commodities imports from Australia. Australia was among the first countries to bar China’s Huawei from 5G operations on its territory.
“India-Australia relations have deepened. And this depth comes from our shared values, shared interests, shared geography and shared objectives,” PM Modi said. “How our relations become a ‘factor of stability’ for our region and for the world, how we work together for global good, all these aspects need to be considered.”
Australian PM Morrison said in his opening remarks, “We are committed to an open, inclusive, prosperous Indo-Pacific and India’s role in that region, our region, will be critical in the years ahead. … it’s time for our relationship to go broader and to go deeper.”
India has promised to assist Australia with its space programme, while an agreement to cooperate on “strategic minerals” will see India importing lithium and cobalt among others from there.
New Delhi: Thousands of Indians are set to get easy access to Australia with the signing of a bilateral trade agreement. They will include 1,800 chefs and yoga teachers, who can hope to get a quick entry; students, who can now stay for up to four years on post-study work visas, and 1,000 millennials who can mix work and pleasure.
This is in addition to opening the doors further for Indian IT professionals and managers who can get up to four-year visas, either as contractual workers on an onsite job or as part of intra-company transfers. Besides, mutual recognition agreements for professionals such as nurses and doctors will ensure that the qualifications of Indian medical professionals will be recognised in Australia. “We are planning to finalise these mutual recognition agreements in the next 12 months,” commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said after the signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement with Australia.
Government officials described the visa concessions as a major gain for India.