India a top-tier security partner, open Indo-Pacific is our need: Australia PM

Source: The post is based on the article “‘India a top-tier security partner, open Indo-Pacific is our need: Australia PM” published in Indian Express on 10th March 2023.

What is the News?

The Australian Prime Minister is on a visit to India.

About India-Australia Cooperation in different sectors

Economic cooperation: The Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA) — the first free trade agreement signed by India with a developed country in a decade — entered into force in December 2022.

– This has resulted in an immediate reduction of duty to zero on 96% of Indian exports to Australia in value (that is 98% of the tariff lines) and zero duty on 85% of Australia’s exports (in value) to India.

– Bilateral trade was US$ 27.5 billion in 2021; with ECTA, there is potential for it to reach around US$ 50 billion in five years.

People-to-people ties: India is one of the top sources of skilled immigrants to Australia. As per the 2021 Census, around 9.76 lakh people in Australia reported their ancestry as Indian origin, making them the second-largest group of overseas-born residents in Australia. 

Education: The Mechanism for Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications (MREQ) was signed in March 2023. This will facilitate the mobility of students between India and Australia. 

– Deakin University and the University of Wollongong are planning to open campuses in India. 

– More than 1 lakh Indian students are pursuing higher education degrees in Australian universities, making Indian students the second-largest cohort of foreign students in Australia.

Defence cooperation: The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue was held in September 2021 and the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Australia visited in June 2022. 

– The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) was concluded during the Virtual Summit in June 2020 and the two militaries held several joint exercises in 2022. 

– Australia will host military operations with India, Japan, and the US in the “Malabar” exercises off the coast of Perth in August and has invited India to join the Talisman Sabre exercises later this year.

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