Australia: Australia sees India as the natural leader in the Indo-Pacific region due to its economic and military strength, geographical location and cultural influence.
The ties between India and Australia have become increasingly strong in recent years. Last year in 2022, on December 29, India and Australia signed a long-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which was on hold for the past many years, reported by Australia’s High Commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell. Reports also indicate that this signing will boost the country’s economy.
The completion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will create a pathway towards reaching the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), which is anticipated to be concluded by September of this year.
CECA is predicted to go beyond the ambit of the FTA by removing taxes and allowing greater access into other sectors that have yet to be considered, with the result that India-Australia trade is expected to double from the current $23 billion over the next five years.
The Australian envoy expressed that their country is eager to deepen its cooperative relationship with India following the news of New Delhi’s commercialization of their space industry.
He added that the Indian government has already requested Australia’s assistance for the nation’s first manned space mission.
Furthermore, they also emphasized education, especially for Indian students, particularly those studying STEM subjects in Australia. They assure the Indian government that they will provide them with work visas that help them to work longer in the country.
While talking about the defence, the Australian ambassador stated that the defence partnership between the forces had revved, with the three services having participated in one joint exercise, in some cases even more, last year.
The envoy admired India’s position in the region, deeming the country a “natural leader”. They went on to emphasize the capabilities of the Quad partnership in offering further options to nations in the Indian Ocean Region about COVID-19 vaccines and other health concerns, as well as tackling climate change.