Tuesday, 8 September 2015

India-Australia Relations

In the words of Prime Minister Abbott, “This is the time to turn the warm friendship between Australia and India, the long history that Australia and India have together, into something that will be meaningful, more meaningful for us and significant for the wider world.”  

Economic Ties:
  • Energy - major part of its coal requirements from Australia, Australia's decision to sell uranium to Indi (NPT angle)
  • Trade - 
    • Bilateral trade is worth $40 Bn 
    • India's 8th largest trading partner
      • but a 20 % drop last year - CECA (proposed) could remedy this.
  • Skill/Education - India's human capital - 1 lakh Indian students 
    • Australia's new Colombo plan will help Australians study in India
  • Employment - many Indians there --> remittances
  • Investment - Australia's potential - esp in infrastructure
Defense/Strategic Ties:
  • Maritime cooperation - disaster relief, humanitarian and search and rescue operations 
    • can be upgraded to include exercises on anti-submarine warfare, piracy and special  operations.
  • Bilateral military exercises - first bilateral maritime exercise AUSINDEX will be held soon (navy)
    • also slowly seeking to build our bilateral Air Force relationship based on our use of common platforms such as the Hawk, C-17, C-130 and P8 maritime patrol aircraft. 
    • At Army Staff Talks last year, both sides agreed in principle to explore opportunities for future exercises. 
    • People-to-people links through personnel and training exchanges have proved vital to building familiarity between our defence forces.
  • Commonality - China's dominance, peaceful Asia-Pacific
    • security, stability and prosperity of the Indian Ocean region and the stability of a wider, rules-based global order.  
    • Australia views India as a key strategic partner — and there is scope for us to cooperate further on broader global issues.
  • Dialogue - between armies underway
Significance for India's Asia-Pacific Ambitions:
  • Economic
    • will be able to boost trade ties with the economies of this region. 
    • along with RCEP
    • Australia openly criticises Chinese aggression in South China Sea --> India's economic interests in the region protected (energy) 
      • Australia has a legitimate interest in the maintenance of peace and stability, respect for international law, unimpeded trade and freedom of navigation and overflight, especially in the South China Sea. 
  • Strategic
    • permanent UNSC membership by engaging constructively with ASEAN, IOR-ARC and East Asia Summit. Australia plays a key role in these organisations.
  • Defence - 'String of Pearls' - India's military cooperation with Australia and later + a trilateral group with Japan --> protect India's interests in the Asia-Pacific.

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