Australia-India Leadership Dialogue

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    In Context 

    The fifth round of the bilateral Track 1.5 dialogue will set the pace for Canberra’s deepening relationship with New Delhi.

    About  Australia-India Leadership Dialogue 

    • It is the premier forum for informal diplomacy between Australia and India
    • It is structured as a multistakeholder cross-sectoral roundtable that involves 50 delegates including business leaders, cabinet ministers and government officials, who are joined by thought leaders in academia, media, and civil society to address shared challenges in the Australia-India relationship and explore areas for cooperation.
    • It provides an opportunity to deepen mutual understanding between Australian and Indian leaders, enhance the framework for regional security, promote business and commercial opportunities, and advance people-to-people links in a manner that underwrites economic and cultural prosperity for Australian and Indian citizens

    India –Australia Relation

    • Evolution: The historical ties between India and Australia started immediately following European settlement in  Australia in 1788. 
      • They established diplomatic relations in the pre-Independence period, with the establishment of the India Trade Office in Sydney in  1941. 
    • Economic relationship: India and Australia have been each other’s important trading partners. These excellent bilateral economic and commercial relations have continued to enhance and deepen over time. 
      • They inked an economic cooperation and trade agreement (ECTA) under which Canberra will provide duty-free access in its market for over 95 per cent tariff lines, including textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery, machinery and select medical devices.
      • They are partners in the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) arrangement along with Japan which seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region.
      • Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner in the current fiscal.
    • Strategic: The India-Australia bilateral relationship has undergone evolution in recent years, developing along a  positive track, into a strategic partnership. 
      • Australia looks at India as an important partner in promoting regional security and stability.
      • This led to upgradation of the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009. 
      • The India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership initiated during the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit  in 2020 .
    • Multilateral Engagement:  Both countries have close cooperation in multilateral fora like Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and G20.
      • India and Australia are also members of the Quad, also comprising the US, and Japan, to further enhance cooperation and develop partnerships across several issues of common concern.
    • S&T: An Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF), which was established in 2006, supports scientists in India and Australia to collaborate on leading-edge research. 
    • Defence: In 2014, both sides decided to extend defence cooperation to cover research, development and industry engagement and agreed to hold regular meetings at the level of the Defence Minister conduct regular maritime exercises and convene regular service-to-service talks
      • The first-ever Bilateral Maritime Exercise, AUSINDEX, was conducted in Visakhapatnam (Bay of Bengal) in September 2015.
      • In 2018, the Indian Air Force participated for the first time in Exercise Pitch Black in Australia.
    • People-to-people links: The Indian diaspora (comprising both Australians of Indian origin and Indians resident in Australia) is now Australia’s fastest growing large diaspora.India remains Australia’s largest source of skilled migrants and the second largest source of international students.
    • Future Prospects : It is widely recognised that Canberra’s relationship with New Delhi is among the most important and critical for the future of the Indo-Pacific. 
      • Australia wants to find alternative markets to China and diversify supply chains for its critical minerals. As a country with reserves of about 21 out of the 49 minerals identified in India’s critical minerals strategy, Australia is well placed to serve India’s national interests required for India’s carbon reduction programme
    • India and Australia will explore ways to promote two-way mobility of universities between the two countries and will set up a working group on transnational education to understand regulatory settings,
    • India is also set to participate in Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour exercise in October 2022.

    Mains Practise Question 

    [Q] India’s relations with Australia have  acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.Discuss.