The Indo-Pacific Way: India and Australia Relations
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, on Tuesday, heaped praise on Indian counterpart Narendra Modi indicating a stronger future tie between the two countries as leaders met each other 6 times during this year. Two months back Australian Prime Minister paid a visit to India during Holi, capturing a glimpse of culture with the arrival of spring.
Back in 1950, Robert Menzies became the first Australian Prime Minister to visit India, since then both countries share some common platforms for economic and regional cooperation in the Indo -Pacific region. India and Australia are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and founding members of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation and the ASEAN Regional Forum.
Australia is India’s eighth largest trading partner and India is Australia’s fifth largest partner, the main areas of economic cooperation are computer and information services, gold, copper, iron ores, and passenger motor vehicles among others. The signing of the Five Action Plans ( signed in 2008 ) has underlined the importance of natural resources for bilateral engagements.
India and Australia witness a lot of academic exchange in the areas of collaborative research, student exchange programs, and distance learning in higher education. In recent years, Australia has become a crucial destination for Indian students for education and learning.
Defense cooperation between the two has largely expanded with the frequent visits of service chiefs and joint naval and air force exercises. Apart from visits and joint exercises, ministerial-level dialogues have increased the arena of cooperation between the two.
The expanding cooperation of India and Australia that envision a free, open, and rules–based Indo-Pacific region can create a strengthened and active engagement between the two.