Tuesday, 25 April, 2017

India, Australia Vow to Jointly Fight Terror, Cooperate in Aviation Security

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Melinda Barton | 21 April, 2017, 19:23

Indian PM Narendra Modi (R) with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull addressing the media at Hyderabad House.

Earlier, India and Australia on Monday inked six pacts including one aimed at boosting counter-terrorism cooperation after talks between Modi and Turnbull in New Delhi.

On the much-delayed supply of uranium from Australia to India, Joint Secretary (South) in the External Affairs Ministry Jaideep Mazumdar had said Australian parliament had cleared a legislation for the supply of uranium to India previous year and now "commercial negotiations" for it are going on, indicating that there was no firming up of any such pact so far.

Prime Minister Turnbull said more than 5000 Australian companies are operating in the country and are investing enormously to the country's economy.

On the economic front, Turnbull informed Modi that Australia would commission an India Economic Strategy to define a pathway for the Australian business community to collaborate with India on its reform agenda.

"We are working with India for a quality RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership)", he said.

Mr Modi is looking for new strategic partners to take India beyond its involvement in the Non-Aligned Movement.

It groups the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a further half-dozen countries, including India, with which ASEAN has free trade deals.

India and Australia agreed that the bilateral maritime exercise first held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015 will be repeated off Western Australia in the first half of 2018. "It's important to have an agreement that meets your requirements", he said.

Stating that trade in goods and services between the two sides stood at $20 billion, he said there was scope for increasing this.

Australia is second is the most popular foreign destination for Indians studying overseas after the United States.

"We see our temporary migration program as being conducted in a very focused way, in Australia's national interest".

"India represents a significant opportunity for both Australian educators and students which is why the commitments we have secured will continue to deliver on what is a strategically important relationship for both countries and our respective education sectors", Birmingham said.