Blending cricket, curry and commerce, India and Australia have imparted an added traction to their growing strategic partnership by signing six pacts, including a crucial agreement to expand counter-terror cooperation, and agreed to revive stalled negotiations on a liberalized bilateral trade deal. The talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull in New Delhi on April 10 have placed the relations between Australia and the world’s fastest growing major economy on a higher footing.
Intensifying counter-terror cooperation topped the agenda. The two leaders said at a joint media appearance that the fight against terrorists, terror organisations and networks should identify, hold accountable and take strong measures against those who encourage, support and finance terror, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups, and falsely extol their virtues.
On the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), Mr Turnbull said that “we had a very good discussion on the issue” but acknowledged that progress has not been as fast as either of us would have liked.” Under the circumstances, all that the two PMs could do was to ask negotiators on both sides to resume the talks soon and find a way out and list their priorities soon so that talks can move forward, amidst concerns in India over allowing farm exports from Australia and access to skilled workers to Down Under.
Mr Modi thanked his Australian guest for the passage of a legislation by Australian parliament with bi-partisan support paving way for the country to export uranium to India. Mr Turnbull, on his part, said he was looking forward to starting the supply “as soon as possible”.