§ India and
Australia held the first virtual Summit in June 2020.
differences that remain, there is clear evidence of growing strategic
convergence between India and Australia in the realm of security" Discuss
[10 marks, 150 words]
Strategic concerns, deeper people-to-people contacts and economic ties are
driving the Indo-Australia cooperation. Elaborate [10 marks, 150 words]
and Australia needs to build a series of bilateral and minilateral platforms
for regional security cooperation to limit the dangers of the growing geopolitical
imbalance in the Indo-Pacific" Discuss [10 marks, 150 words]
§ To what
extent the use of soft power like sports, cultural exchange, people to people
contact help in enhancing India-Australia cooperation? Discuss with suitable
examples [12.5 marks, 200 words]
has loomed large in modern India's consciousness - as the land of cricket
champions. But, there was little else binding the two
nations during the 20th century. This was despite the common
political values and the shared English language.
Deep Structural impediments which prevented India-Australia Cooperation
of Cold War: Australia was among USA's and Britain's closest allies,
while India had opted for non-alignment.
Factor: Here again, Cold War imperatives meant that Australia sided with
Pakistan- a member of Anglo-American alliances - rather than India.
Nuclear status outside NPT led to Australia taking a particularly
strong stand against India specially after the 1998 nuclear test.
the NSG waiver of 2008 and the bilateral civil nuclear
agreement in 2014-15 largely addressed the concern.
of Economic Content in the past
§ This has changed
today and India is among top five export destination of
Australia and Australia is a top 20 trade partner for India.
§ Trade in services
have specially done well in areas like education, ICT, and tourism.
But, even now merchandize trade is way below potential.
of People to People Contact - the backdrop to this was the "white
Australia" policy which discouraged migration from Asia.
§ In recent
years, however, Indian immigrants are among the largest contributors to
Australia's population growth.
End of Cold War, India's nuclear mainstreaming, Australia's demographic
diversification and a growth in economic ties have today altered the reality of
the last decade, though, there has been a steady improvement in the
quality and intensity of the political, commercial, cultural, educational, and
technological engagement between the two nations.
Commonalities which bring India Australia together
§ System of government- Both are liberal
democracies with federal structure, free press and independent
and stability of Indo-Pacific is fundamental to both of us
language, cricket, and Indian diaspora also provide
important link between India and Australia.
is in India's extended neighbourhood.
Australia Needs India - Strategic reasons, Market, Education Sector,
Role of Indian diaspora in Australia's growth etc.
India Needs Australia - Strategic reasons, Energy - Uranium, huge
natural resources etc., Technologies - Agriculture-Mining etc., Safety of
India's diaspora, Support at international forums - UNSC, G-20, IORA etc.
§ Note: During
the June 2020 summit, Australia reiterated it's support for India's
permanent membership to UNSC. In recent past Australia has supported India's
membership of Australia Group & Wassenaar. It
also favors India's membership to NSG.
Drivers of India Australia Cooperation
decades of being indifferent to each other, India and Australia have emerged as
close strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific. This is evident in
the number of high level visits and joint military exercises between
the two countries. The joint naval exercise, AUSINDEX, is a manifestation of
this synergistic approach to maritime security.
factors that is leading to strategic convergence:
aggression and assertive foreign policy - and its implications for
issues of China with both countries
border dispute with China and recent infiltration of PLA in Ladakh
growing interference in Australian domestic politics and its
attempt to use trade for geopolitical purposes have raised fundamental
questions about its long term reliability for Australia.
· Further, when Canberra joined some other nations in calling for an independent
enquiry into the origins of the novel coronavirus, China threatened boycott of Australian
products in response. Later they suspended Australian Beef Import and imposed
tariffs on barley imports.
has also invoked national security argument to keep Huawei out of
Australia's 5G infrastructure, blocked sale/lease of land to
Chinese companies and consortium on security ground.
about USA's strategic commitment to the Indo-Pacific.
§ There are legitimate
concerns about US' unpredictability especially under Donald trump.
Therefore, major countries in the region, such as India, Australia, Japan etc.
need to work together to compensate for American distraction.
of Strategic Convergence
number of military exercises in all three services, as well as staff
talks and military training initiatives. In 2019, the countries took part in
the third edition of AUSINDEX, a large-scale anti-submarine exercise in the Bay
upgradation of bilateral 2+2 dialogue to ministerial level during the
June 2020 summit
dialogues with Japan and Indonesia adds heft to strategic coordination.
Security dialogue (India-USA-Japan-Australia) is the biggest
manifestation of the increasing strategic convergence between
Australia and India.
of a Framework for Security Cooperation between India and Australia in
2014 also provides the much needed impetus for greater security
engagement between the two countries.
of mutual logistic support Agreement during the June 2020 summit.
on Defence S&T Implementing Arrangement signed during the
June 2020 summit.
Concerns in strategic relations
set of concerns regarding China: Australia's concern is
regarding increasing activities of China in the Pacific whereas
India is more worried about China's increased penetration in the Indian
New Delhi defines pacific as its secondary area of interest and
for Canberra Indian ocean is its second Sea, but military
capacity limitations on both sides means that there is a challenge
in deploying resources in secondary areas of interest.
has also been uncertain about Australia's reliance since it backed out
of Quad in 2007, though, this uncertainty is slowly disappearing.
of Military Capabilities - especially on the Indian side. While we are
participating in joint exercises, our ability to come to each other's aid
during conflict remains in question.
cooperation is only expected to intensify in future as the threat
of hegemonic China is not likely to disappear anytime soon in future.
countries should appreciate the increasing relevance of working together on
a number of areas including maritime security, the establishment
of blue economy, infrastructure and connectivity initiatives,
and strategic industry collaboration.
financing of infrastructure by India and Australia in the Indo-Pacific
to strengthen the economic order in the region.
§ "It is only by building a series of
overlapping bilateral and minilateral platforms for regional security
cooperation that Delhi and Canberra can limit the dangers of the growing
geopolitical imbalance in the Indo-Pacific" C Raja Mohan
defence forces of the two countries should develop strategic
coordination in the various sub-regions of the Indo-Pacific Littoral.
Indian Ocean connects Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, and is at the heart
of the Indo-Pacific. "Delhi and Canberra should initiate a full
range of joint activities, including on maritime domain awareness,
development of strategically located islands and marine science research" C
of A&N and Cocos Island both in Indian ocean offer a chance to
extend patrols and strategic ties.
§ The sea
lines of communication between Indian and Pacific Ocean run through Indonesian
Archipelago. Since there is a shared political commitment to the
Indo-Pacific idea between Delhi, Canberra and Jakarta and since they are under
growing pressures on them to secure their shared waters, India and Australia
must seek trilateral maritime and naval cooperation with
Britain and France are other natural partners for India and
Australia in Indo Pacific.
Dialogues between India-Japan and Australia should be expanded
from diplomatic level to practical maritime cooperation on the ground.
§ France is
also resident power in Indo-Pacific and have shown eagerness
to develop trilateral cooperation with India-Australia. India should
endorse the initiative.
§ Britain also
wants to return to oriental seas. Britain continues to lead the so-called five
Power Defence Arrangement set up back in 1971, after Britain pulled
back most of its forces from the East of Suez. The FPDA brings together the
armed forces of the UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. India
should explore possible engagement with FPDA.
should also give more thought on involving Australia in the Malabar
exercise - it will send a message that India consider Australia as a
legitimate security partner.
members need to enhance discussion on operational aspects of
their cooperation - this would lead to greater synergy between their
forces while dealing with common problems.
Addition, developing a common approach to certain ideas and principles
like free, open and transparent Indo-Pacific is important.
partnership between the two countries have seen considerable advancement in the
recent decade. But, to achieve the full potential, it will require dedicated attention
and political leadership from both the capitals.
2018-19, the bilateral trade was more than $20 billion with a
deficit of $10 billion for India. this bilateral trade is way below
potential especially when we compare China-Australia trade which is
worth more than $150 billion.
countries also have an investment of about $10 billion in each
§ Recently a report published by Australia -
"Indian Economy Strategy to 2035" says that no
single market over the next 20 years will offer more growth
opportunities for Australia than India.
§ The report highlighted 10 sectors that were
Australia's competitive advantages match India's needs, and 10
state in India where we should focus efforts. The sectors include flagship
education sector, agribusiness, resources etc.
countries should utilize current innovations in digital trade.
Global attention towards digital economics, along with technological innovation
in both countries, especially blockchain technology, is posed to enhance both
maritime connectivity and ease of doing business.
recent decision to reinitiate negotiations on Comprehensive Economic
Cooperation Agreement should be backed by timeline to finalize
§ India's concerns
regarding RCEP should be looked into with priority. RCEP can act as a great
opportunity not only to widen the market, but also for MSME's to enter the
global value chains.
shouldn’t be overcautious about its trade deficit with Australia - it
is more important to address other equally pertinent issues such as nature
of commodities being traded and their subsequent effect on the
producers, consumers, and governments. As a corollary trade
deficit shouldn't dictate the terms of negotiation for a trade deal.
§ "A confident Indo-Pacific strategy
cannot be sustained by a policy of economic timidity": Shyam Saran
is a world leader in sectors like Agricultural, Animal
Husbandry innovations, Mining etc.
world class Agricultural sector can support India all the way from
better crop and herd productivity to storage and transport, cold chain supply,
food-processing and retail.
is a mining superpower and India can benefit from the technology,
expertise and the capital that will help unlock India's vast mineral resources.
has started supplying nuclear material to India starting 2017.
Diaspora - Around 3% of Australia's population (700,000)
is of Indian diaspora. They are continuously increasing there
presence in business and politics. People to People links and
Vibrant Indian origin community plays a crucial role in strengthening
linkages and collaborations have also increased dramatically in recent
§ The changing
political landscape in UK and USA and their VISA policies is going to
make Australia an even more attractive destination for Indian Students especially
since Australia boasts of some of the leading universities in the world.
§ The early
control of COVID-19 in Australia also makes it possible that there
universities would be open before the colleges in Western countries thus
bringing more Indian students to Australia.
§ As more
Indian students graduate from Australian Universities, people to people contact
and institutional linkages will only become stronger.
§ Tourism (especially
from India to Australia) is on the rise. More than 3,00,000 Indian
tourists visited Australia in 2017.
§ Sports is
emerging as another key binding factor in India-Australia relations. While cricket is
the obvious synergy in this regard, there is a growing interest in
other sports. India has an Australian Football league club which
plays in the Australian Football international Cup, for example.
Indian Film Festival in Melbourne, as well as many other growing
collaborations in the arts have been encouraged by Government and also continue
to grow organically.
number of Institutes promote the Australia-India bilateral
relationship and have played a leading role in bringing the countries closer
together. The Australia Indian Institute, the Australia
India Youth Dialogue, The Center for India Australia Studies,
the Australia India Business Council etc. operate
independently of the prospective governments but are important stakeholders in
the bilateral relationships.
§ In fact
the recently released "Indian Economy Strategy - 2035" also calls
Australian government to establish different relations with Indian states as
India is best seen not as a single economy but as an aggregation of very
different state economies, each growing at different rates.
· KEY HIGHLIGHTS OF THE JUNE 2020 VIRTUAL SUMMIT between the two Prime Ministers - Narendra Modi and Scott Morrison
summit was first of its kind virtual bilateral summit and indicated
that both sides didn't want the present momentum in bilateral relationship to
Declaration of a 'Shared Vision for Maritime Cooperation in the
§ "Both India and Australia share a vision of a free,
open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region to support the freedom
of navigation, over-flight and peaceful and cooperative use of the seas by
adherence of all nations to international law including the UNCLOS and peaceful
resolution of disputes rather than through unilateral or coercive actions"
of bilateral ties to a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership"
is only the fifth country with which India has signed CSP
after UK, Indonesia, Vietnam and UAE.
§ CSP is
expected to raise the level of trust required to improve the
trade and investment flows.
Logistic Support Agreement (MLSA) was also signed.
§ It will
allow both militaries the reciprocal use of bases, humanitarian and disaster
relief cooperation, port exercises, and passage exercises.
is only the 4th country after France, Singapore and USA to
sign a mutual logistic support agreement with India.
of 2+2 dialogue to ministerial level (from secretary level) who will
meet to discuss strategic issues at least every two years.
agreement on Cyber and Cyber enabled Critical Technology domains.
§ MoU on mining
and processing critical and strategic minerals including Australian
rare earth metals used for electronics.
§ MoU on governance,
vocational training and water management.
to recommence talks on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement,
suspended since 2015.
§ The two
leaders also committed to a new phase of the Australia-India Strategic
Research Fund to promote innovative solutions for responding to and
progress on security cooperation - CSP, MLSA, Upgradation of 2+2
dialogue, Cyber technology etc.
substantial progress on trade - a decision to restart the CECA
negotiation is the only positive. But Delhi inability to wrap up any new
bilateral trade agreement with any of the major countries recently raises a
number of concerns.
strategic coordination in the various sub-regions of the Indo-Pacific Littoral
Australia in Malabar
Quad Discussion in operational Aspects
§ Give up
economic timidity and work aggressively towards CECA and RCEP.
Maritime Connectivity in the Indo-Pacific is of utmost importance in
the face of India and Australia's effort to strengthen bilateral ties. The two
countries should promote people to people, business to
business and people to business interconnectedness in
the region. Indo Pacific is not only important for commerce but also for
the geo-politics and geo-strategy.
for Digital India and Australia's driver for digital innovation to
fit into the fourth industrial revolution - are highly complementary in
increasing access in the maritime spaces, bringing down costs and augmenting
the feasibility of trade opportunities between India and Australia.
current downturn in the global economy certainly limits the immediate
possibilities for realizing the full potential of commercial relations between
India and Australia. But there are a host of emerging issues -
from reforming the WHO to 5G technology and from strengthening ISA to building
resilience against Climate Change and disasters - that lend themselves to
intensive bilateral political and institutional engagement.