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India-Australia Virtual Summit

  • 05 Jun 2020
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, Prime Ministers of India and Australia held their first virtual bilateral summit and both concluded nine agreements including the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA).

  • The two leaders are expected to meet in person at the extended G-7 summit which will be held in the USA later in 2020.

Key Points

  • Agreements:
    • Comprehensive Strategic Partnership: Upgradation of the existing 2+2 dialogue to the Ministerial level, elevating the 2009 bilateral Strategic Partnership to a CSP.
      • India already has a 2+2 ministerial-level dialogues mechanism with the USA and Japan, the other members of the Quadrilateral grouping (QUAD).
      • India has signed CSPs with the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) thus far, while Australia has CSPs with China, Indonesia and Singapore.
    • Mutual Logistics Support Agreement: Both sides agreed to continue to deepen and broaden defence cooperation by enhancing the scope and complexity of their military exercises and engagement activities to develop new ways to address shared security challenges.
      • It will increase military interoperability through defence exercises and allow both militaries the reciprocal use of bases, humanitarian and disaster relief cooperation, port exercises and passage exercises.
      • India has such agreements with the USA (Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement-LEMOA), France, Singapore and South Korea.
    • Joint declaration on ‘Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific’: The two sides announced a roadmap to harness opportunities and meet challenges together as comprehensive strategic partners.
    • Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA): The two sides decided to recommence suspended talks over the India-Australia CECA which has been suspended since 2015.
    • Australia-India Strategic Research Fund to promote innovative solutions for responding to and treating Covid-19 as well as other jointly determined priorities, to be preceded by a one-off Special Covid Collaboration Round in 2020.
    • Both sides have decided to reflect on the recommendations of the ongoing evaluation of the international response over the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) role in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
      • Both countries will work together to strengthen international institutions to ensure they are inclusive and rules-based.
    • Framework arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-enabled critical technology cooperation: Work together in the digital economy, cybersecurity and critical and emerging technologies.
    • Agreement on agriculture and related activities: Agriculture was identified as an important pillar of both the economies with shared challenges and climatic conditions.
    • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mining and processing critical and strategic minerals: Cooperate on new technologies for exploration and extraction of minerals including Australian rare earth metals used for electronics, governance, vocational training and water management.
  • Untouched Issues:

Way Forward

  • Shared values, shared interests, shared geography and shared objectives are the bedrock of deepening India-Australia ties and the cooperation and coordination between the two countries have picked up momentum in recent years.
  • Both India and Australia share a vision of a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region and cooperative use of the seas by adherence to international law including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and peaceful resolution of disputes rather than through unilateral or coercive actions.

Source: TH

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