During the virtual meeting in 2020, the bilateral relationship between the two countries was elevated to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”.

Next week, the leaders of India and Australia are expected to meet virtually and sign the first-ever historic interim trade agreement. According to sources, although the dates have not been officially announced, talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will focus on various issues of mutual interest, including free and open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, rules-based order, improving trade ties, the situation between Russia and Ukraine, and defense cooperation.

It is the second time that the leaders of the two countries have met virtually. The first was in June 2020, during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The top-level meeting between the two leaders comes amid the crisis between Russia and Ukraine and also comes close on the heels of the expected visit of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida over the weekend. This will be the Japanese leader’s first visit to India.

The changing world as the war between Russia and Ukraine continues and an aggressive China in the Indo-Pacific will be discussed by the leaders who are also part of the QUAD.

Earlier this month, as previously reported, the two leaders were part of the virtual QUAD meeting held at the request of the US to discuss issues related to the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine.

The virtual meeting between the two leaders also comes at a time when the Australian federal election is soon to take place.

Both countries had their first ever 2+2 ministerial dialogue in September 2021, focusing on free and open Indo-Pacific, maritime security and the situation in Afghanistan after it fell to the Taliban on August 15.

The navies of both countries have participated in various exercises and have also concluded important agreements such as the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement in 2014; Technical Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange in 2015 and a Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) in 2020.

Extended Strategic Partnership

During the virtual meeting in 2020, the bilateral relationship between the two countries was elevated to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”. They are both already engaged in various forms of dialogue and have collaborated in various sectors, including cooperation in cyber-enabled critical technology, critical and strategic materials, defense science exchanges, maritime security and mutual logistics support. Both sides also work in other areas such as water management and vocational training.

Australia, as a member of the small Like-Minded Group of members of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), has supported India’s entry into the ‘small group’.

It is also a key partner in the Indo-Pacific and QUAD initiative and is also part of trilateral and multilateral initiatives such as India-Australia-Indonesia, India-Australia-France, as well as ASEAN-led forums.

It is one of the premier educational destinations for Indian students and there is an Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF). This fund allows the scientists of the two countries to collaborate on advanced technologies.

India-Australia Biotechnology Fund, India-Australia Science & Technology Fund; Large Challenge Fund; and Fellowship schemes are all part of AISRF.

India, Australia and Japan and Australia have also launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) which will help diversify and secure supply chains for the COVID-19 vaccines.

This post Indo-Pacific, Russia-Ukraine crisis, trade will be the focus of India-Australia summit

was original published at “https://www.financialexpress.com/defence/indo-pacific-russia-ukraine-crisis-trade-will-be-focus-of-india-australia-summit/2462229/”