[Answered] Deepening investments in Australia-India strategic, economic, and community ties highlight their stronger relationship. Do you agree that India Australia relations are getting stronger?

Australia is celebrating India’s 75 years of Independence by making the largest single investment in India. In the recent virtual summit of India-Australia, Australia committed to investing Rs 1,500 crore in India in technology, critical minerals, mobility, and education. This is said to be the largest investment by Australia in India. It suggests the growing relations between India and Australia. However, there is some scope left in the form of disagreements on some aspects.

Australia- India relationship so far:

  • Economic Relations: The bilateral trade between the two nations is worth $24.4 billion and FDI is about $1.4 billion. Australia is also implementing “An India Economic Strategy to 2035”. Copper ores, coal, gold, and petroleum accounted for over 80 per cent of India’s imports from Australia.
  • However, both are “too far apart” to complete the bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) in the near term and could not agree regarding market access over agriculture and dairy products.
  • Strategic Relations: They established a ‘Strategic Partnership’ in 2009 which has been further elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020. A Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed in September 2014. A yearly joint naval exercise called AUSINDEX and Malabar naval exercise are also performed by them. Both countries are part of QUAD and Supply Chain Resilience Initiative. Both are committed to a free, open and rule-based Indo-Pacific region.
  • However, no consensus has been reached on non-nuclear proliferation and disarmament given India’s position as a nuclear power. There is no clear Indo-pacific strategy as countries do not have one definitive vision for the region. It is generally seen as global construct to arrest China’s rise.
  • People to people Relations: Out of Australia’s 24 million people, about 5 million are Indian diaspora. About 60000 students from India are going to Australia for higher studies and 2 lakh Indian tourists visit Australia every year. Sporting links, especially Cricket (IPL) and Hockey, are also strengthening people to people relations. Australia is investing in India’s talented young people through new Future Skills Initiative between education and training providers and industry.
  • However, India desires greater free movement and relaxed visa norms for IT professionals, on which Australia is reluctant moreover increasing Racist attacks on Indians in Australia is also disturbing.

India and Australia are natural partners thus both can boost collaboration on innovation, science and entrepreneurship, to scale up ideas that address global challenges. These investments in our strategic, economic, and community ties show what we can achieve when two multicultural democracies join in a spirit of trust and understanding.

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