Australia, India pledge to strengthen economic, defence ties during leaders’ summit

Image credit: PM Anthony Albanese's LinkedIn

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have agreed to further strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries during talks at the Annual Leaders’ Summit held Friday in New Delhi.

The leaders declared their intentions to conclude the ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) as soon as possible, building on the landmark trade agreement inked last year. 

The CECA will be a game-changing agreement that will generate new employment and opportunities in both nations, according to a media release by PM Albanese. 

The prime ministers also spoke about the possibilities offered by the India-Australia Audiovisual Co-Production Agreement, recognising it as a special aspect of the bilateral economic partnership. 

The pact aims to encourage the creation of skilled jobs, artistic collaboration, and the growth of culturally significant screen projects in both nations.

During their talks, the leaders agreed to expand on their current collaboration on solar and hydrogen in order to create a Renewable Energy Partnership. 

They also highlighted their shared ambition on climate change and the opportunities afforded by the global energy transition.

Additionally, the prime ministers applauded the creation of a commission, headed by renowned Indian scientist Professor Anil Kottantharayil and Australian solar specialist Professor Renate Egan, to advise the Australian and Indian governments on how to speed up the adoption of solar PV and clean supply chains.

The leaders then decided to further their common goal of an open, peaceful, and prosperous Indo-Pacific by strengthening their defence and security cooperation as they hailed Australia’s first-ever staging of Exercise Malabar this year.

As the summit emphasised education, both leaders praised a new agreement that would facilitate reciprocal recognition of educational credentials, and officials reported strong progress on a new Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement. 

This agreement will promote student, graduate, and professional mobility while also improving collaboration on irregular migration concerns, according to the Australian government. 

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed his delight over the countries’ longstanding and thriving relations, saying that his visit has improved Australia’s existing tight connection with India, a crucial partner and good friend in the Indo-Pacific region.

“Building a stronger partnership with India will deliver tangible benefits for Australia in trade and investment, education, renewable energy, defence and security, and culture,” PM Albanese stated.

He also expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Modi for hosting his first official visit to India, saying he looks forward to bringing him to Australia for the Quad Leaders’ Conference later this year.