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Synopsis: The ‘2+2’ dialogue between India and Australia will provide substance to an already meaningful partnership.
Recently, India and Australia held the inaugural 2+2 talks. The main focus of the dialogue is to implement the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region.
What are the recent developments in India-Australia Relations?
Common and shared values of democracy, respect for international rule and law have enabled the two to forge strong relations. Further, there are also various collaborations on many issues in bilateral, trilateral, plurilateral and multilateral formats. This is evident in:
Strategic Partnerships: They elevated their bilateral strategic partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership(CSP) in June 2020. Both countries have completed one year of their CSP.
Elevated 2+2 Dialogue: The two countries have elevated their ‘2+2’ Foreign and Defence Secretaries’ Dialogue to the ministerial level, emphasises the positive trajectory of their transforming relations.
Co-operation in Indo-Pacific Region: Security cooperation has enhanced due to common interest in free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo-Pacific region. Security dialogues also have been done with key partner countries who share similar interests to strengthen coordination in Indo-Pacific. For example, the Malabar Naval Exercise is a step in this direction.
|Read more: The Malabar Exercise of Quad nations, and why it matters to India|
Trade: There is a growth in trade between both countries in recent years on various sectors like infrastructure, health, education etc. Two-way trade between India and Australia stands at $24.4 billion in 2020.
What are the present challenges hampering India Australia relations?
Challenges in India: India has a high tariff for agriculture and dairy products, which makes it difficult for Australian exporters to export these items to India.
Challenges in Australia: India faces non-tariff barriers imposed by Australia. Also, Indian skilled professionals face discrimination in the Australian labour market.
The Quad has gained momentum in recent months. The time is ripe for these countries to deliberate on a ‘Quad+’ framework.
Source: This post is based on the article ”Partners in the Indo-Pacific” published in The Hindu on 15th September 2021