Australian PM, in India, pushes bilateral, regional trade agenda

India and Austrialia signed six agreements, including one on bolstering counter-terrorism cooperation Monday as Prime Minister Narendra Modi held extensive talks with visiting Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Both the prime ministers felt that commercial export of Australian uranium could begin soon, opening up a new avenue for Australia to support India's energy requirement.

Both the leaders mentioned the TERI-Deakin Research Centre on Nano and Bio Technology.

The three countries, along with the U.S., were part of the now-defunct Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, an informal strategic grouping started in 2007 to discuss issues of interest, such as defence cooperation. The Australian PM also emphasised on the need to conclude the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) led by China in the wake of the U.S. rejecting the TransPacific Partnership agreement. "We look forward, Prime Minister (Modi) and I, to making that even stronger in this visit", Turnbull added.

Earlier in the day, he visited the campus of TCS at suburban Andheri and requested India's largest software exporter to open an innovation lab in his country.

The joint statement seeks a secure and rule-based Indo-Pacific region, ensuring maritime security and safety of sea lanes, lines of communications and resolving maritime disputes by peaceful means in accordance with worldwide law, a snub to China, declared to be in violation of the Law of the Seas.

He also called for working closely with with members of the East Asia Summit and the Indian Ocean rim countries to pursue common interests.

Following the meetings and discussions with Indian PM, the Minister for Human Resource and Development Prakash Javadekar and the Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Rajiv Pratap Rudy, the Turnbull Government had secured important progress on key education issues.

On his part, Turnbull said Australia was helping India in its water management policy while sharing expertise in the area of renewable energy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi sure takes his selfies seriously.

Stating that trade in goods and services between the two sides stood at $20 billion, he said there was scope for increasing this.

Thus, it has put the free trade agreement on the backburner, a media report said. In the evening, Mr Modi and Mr Turnbull travelled in Delhi metro and visited the Akshardham Temple.

Modi and Turnbull also welcomed "continued and deepened" trilateral cooperation and dialogue among Australia, India and Japan.

  • Zachary Reyes