New Delhi: At the invitation of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Australia the Hon’ble Anthony Albanese MP, paid a State Visit to India from 8 to 11 March 2023. Prime Minister Albanese was accompanied by Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon’ble Don Farrell, Minister for Resources, the Hon’ble Madeleine King MP, a high-level official delegation and a large business delegation. Prime Minister Albanese visited Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi on his first bilateral visit to India.
Reaffirming the strength of the multifaceted bilateral ties that have deepened under the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership established in June 2020, and based on the foundation of mutual trust, shared democratic values, common interests and strong people-to-people ties, both Prime Ministers held the 1st Annual Summit in New Delhi on 10 March 2023. Both Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the rapid expansion of bilateral relations facilitated by frequent high-level contact and exchange of Ministerial visits, which have further strengthened and deepened cooperation across a diverse range of areas, including political and strategic, defence and security, trade and investment, education and research, agriculture and water, cyber and space, mining and critical minerals, climate change and renewable energy, and mobility of people. Welcoming the sustained momentum in bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the Prime Ministers agreed that the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership was beneficial not only for both countries but also for an open, inclusive, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific, where the rules-based international order is upheld.
Prime Minister Albanese expressed Australia’s strong support for India’s G20 presidency and its priorities for the forum in 2023. The Prime Ministers looked forward to India’s successful G20 presidency this year, and reiterated their commitment to work closely on issues of global interests and shared priorities to realise inclusive, ambitious, decisive and action-oriented outcomes, in areas such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals; technological transformation; inclusive and resilient growth; green development, climate finance and LiFE (Lifestyle for the Environment); reinvigorated multilateralism; reforms and international cooperation; mainstreaming gender equality and advancing women’s empowerment and inclusive leadership. Prime Minister Albanese congratulated the leadership of Prime Minister Modi on India’s G20 presidency. Prime Minister Modi briefed Prime Minister Albanese on India’s hosting of the Voice of Global South Summit to hear the ideas of the developing world in health, food security, affordable access to energy, climate finance and technologies and economic growth.
Economy, Trade and Investments
The Prime Ministers welcomed the strength of the economic relationship and committed to further developing trade and investment ties and fostering ongoing economic cooperation.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the entry into force of the landmark India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on 29 December 2022 and emphasised the significant opportunities to diversify and expand two-way trade. They also noted with satisfaction the resolution of the long-standing issue of taxation of offshore income of Indian firms under the India-Australia Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA). They looked forward to greater two-way trade and business engagement under ECTA, thereby further strengthening existing people-to-people links and cultural exchange.
The Prime Ministers welcomed progress in negotiations building on the foundation laid by the ECTA, including new areas of trade, investment and cooperation. The Prime Ministers looked forward to swift progress in negotiations and for an early conclusion of an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), to realise the full potential of the bilateral economic relationship, thus creating new employment opportunities, raising living standards and improving the general welfare of the peoples of both countries.
The Prime Ministers welcomed the convening of the India-Australia CEO Forum and encouraged businesses on both sides to cultivate links; explore emerging economic and investment opportunities, including as an outcome of ECTA, and to leverage the significant complementarities of the two economies. They agreed that Australia’s comparative strength in raw materials, critical minerals and innovative research coupled with India’s scale, market size and low-cost manufacturing space can lead to fruitful and mutually beneficial outcomes through partnerships between Indian and Australian companies.
Climate, energy, science and technology, and research cooperation
The Prime Ministers recognised the urgent need to address climate change, implementing the Paris Agreement and delivering on the outcomes of COP26 in Glasgow and COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, and to accelerate efforts for ambitious global climate action, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. The Prime Ministers noted the importance of ensuring efforts to address climate change are inclusive and gender-responsive.
The Prime Ministers underscored their commitment to encourage climate action in accordance with each country’s Nationally Determined Contributions while ensuring energy security, job creation, poverty reduction and continuing international collaboration, including through the Quad, the G20, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA). In this context, they reaffirmed the importance of mindful consumption, more sustainable lifestyles and reducing waste. Prime Minister Albanese welcomed Prime Minister Modi’s outline of his call for environmentally-conscious sustainable lifestyles through the LiFE Movement. Prime Minister Modi welcomed Prime Minister Albanese’s outline of the forthcoming roadmap for the India-Australia Industry and Research Collaboration for Reducing Plastic Waste initiative, focused on plastic waste reduction and circular economy cooperation.
Defence and Security Cooperation
The Prime Ministers welcomed sustained progress under the defence and security pillar of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and discussed ways to further enhance it. Recognising the increasingly uncertain global security environment, the Prime Ministers underscored their unwavering commitment to strengthening the India-Australia defence and security partnership to address shared challenges, and work towards an open, inclusive, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
The Prime Ministers supported the convening this year of the 2+2 Defence and Foreign Ministerial Dialogue and the meeting of the Defence Ministers which would enhance mutual understanding and coordination of engagements between the two countries. The Prime Ministers recognised the growing complexity and frequency of defence exercises and exchanges between the two countries and acknowledged the increasing interoperability between the respective forces through implementation of the India-Australia Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement. They welcomed the arrangements between the two countries for enhancing Maritime Domain Awareness in the Indian Ocean region, increased defence information sharing and consolidation of mutual access that continue to deepen operational defence cooperation.
The Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the deep and vibrant people-to-people ties between the two countries, which is energised by the 976,000 Australians of Indian descent, and agreed to further strengthen this special bond. The Prime Ministers agreed on the importance of protecting the safety and security of the Indian community in Australia, and ensuring continued harmony.
The Prime Ministers noted the significant progress in the ongoing negotiations on a Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement (MMPA) which will strengthen people-to-people ties and reinforce economic linkages. The Prime Ministers tasked the concerned officials on both sides to expedite the conclusion of an ambitious and balanced MMPA within the next three months, which will promote and support the mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers, business people and other professionals now and into the future, while also enhancing cooperation on issues pertaining to irregular migration.
Regional and Multilateral Cooperation
The Prime Ministers renewed their commitment to supporting an open, inclusive, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific where sovereignty and territorial integrity are respected. They reiterated the importance of peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
The Prime Ministers underlined the importance of being able to exercise rights and freedoms in all seas and oceans consistent with international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), including freedom of navigation and overflight. They reiterated the importance of adherence to international law, particularly UNCLOS, to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South China Sea. They underscored the importance of disputes being resolved peacefully in accordance with international law without threat or use of force or any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo, and that countries should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability. They called for any Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to be effective, substantive and fully consistent with international law, without prejudice to the legitimate rights and interests of any state, including those not party to these negotiations, and support existing inclusive regional architecture.
The Prime Ministers reiterated their commitment to strengthening cooperation through the Quad. They looked forward to continuing to work together with Quad partners in the Indo-Pacific, to advance their shared vision for a region that is free, open, inclusive and resilient, and to deliver on commitments from the 2022 Quad Leaders’ Summit. This includes practical cooperation in areas such as health security, climate change and energy transition, sustainable infrastructure and connectivity, debt transparency and sustainability, space cooperation, cyber security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), maritime security, counter-terrorism, critical and emerging technologies and education. Prime Minister Albanese looked forward to working closely with India to advance the Quad’s positive and practical agenda, including welcoming Prime Minister Modi to Australia for the 2023 Quad Leaders’ Summit.
The Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction at the progress of bilateral engagements and affirmed their commitment to further deepen and strengthen the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for mutual benefit as well as for the peace and prosperity of the Indo-Pacific. Prime Minister Albanese thanked Prime Minister Modi for the warmth and hospitality extended to him and to the members of his delegation during his State Visit to India and extended an invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Australia.