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Mains Answer Writing

20-october-2023

Q1) The synergy of shared values and vibrant people-to-people connections between India and Australia creates a fertile ground for fostering long-lasting trade relations and strategic collaboration between the two nations. Analyse.

ANSWER:

There are many points of agreement between India and Australia, which forms the basis for further cooperation and complex engagement. Both are robust, alive, secular democracies that value diversity.

The English language, Cricket, and now the large numbers of Indian students going to Australia for education, are significant elements in Indo-Australian relations.

THE SYNERGY OF SHARED VALUES BETWEEN INDIA AND AUSTRALIA

1. Historical Commercial Ties: Trade between India and Australia began in the 18th century, a time when India was a key factor in feeding the fledgling colony and trade with Australia became crucial to the East India Company’s operations in Bengal.

2. Indo-Pacific Region: They both share common values of peace, tranquillity, and security in the Indo-Pacific region. Participation in grouping like IPEF, QUAD, ASEAN+6, etc. shows their joint commitment to the region.

3. People-to-People Interaction: According to the Australian Census of 2021, over 9.76 lakh Australians claimed Indian ancestry, making them the second largest group of residents in Australia who were born abroad.

4. Mutual Respect: For e.g., The Australian government lit up more than 40 buildings nationwide as part of the India@75 celebrations, and Prime Minister Albanese sent out a special video message.

5. Sports and Culture: India and Australia share common interests in the field of cricket and other sports. Both are multicultural societies with indigenous cultures that have shaped their democracies. This allows for partnership between them regarding cultural ethics.

THE SYNERGIES OF COMMON ALLOW THE GROWTH OF ECONOMIC AND STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS

1. Economic Partnership

a. Trade: India is Australia’s sixth largest trading partner with two-way trade in goods and services valued at $46.5 billion in 2022.

b. Trade agreement: India and Australia signed Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA), the first free trade agreement signed by India with a developed country in a decade entered into force in December 2022.

c. This Agreement has resulted in an immediate reduction of duty to zero on 96% of Indian exports to Australia in value (that is 98% of the tariff lines) and zero duty on 85% of Australia’s exports (in value) to India.

d. Investment: India’s investment in Australia is increasing through robust private and public investments. Similarly, Australia has been a source of FDI and FPI in Indian companies.

e. Increased areas of cooperation: India and Australia are looking into new areas of cooperation and partnership especially Green Energy, Green Hydrogen, Critical Minerals, and Defence Technologies.

f. Mineral trade: Australia is one of India’s crucial partners in the trade of coal, minerals like iron, gold, etc. Many Indian industries have invested in Australia to secure a stable and resilient supply of these minerals.

2. Strategic Partnership:

a. QUAD platform serves an important purpose of strengthening the strategic partnership between India and Australia, both of which are emerging powers in the Indo-Pacific region.

b. Elevation of strategic partnership status: India-Australia in India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit elevated the bilateral relationship from the Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP).

c. Chinese Factor: India is facing an aggressive Chinese military along the border. Ties between Australia and China were strained after Canberra 2018 banned Chinese telecom firm Huawei from the 5G network. This provides India and Australia to up their relationship and partnership to create a strong alternative to aggressive China.

d. Military exercises: The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) was concluded during the Virtual Summit in June 2020, and the two militaries held several joint exercises in 2022. Australia will host military operations with India, Japan, and the US in the “Malabar” exercises

e. Maritime Security: India and Australia both share an interest in maintaining freedom of navigation and ensuring maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region. They collaborate on maritime domain awareness, surveillance, and information sharing to address piracy, illegal fishing, and other transnational crimes.

CHALLENGES IN INDIA AND AUSTRALIA RELATIONSHIP

1. China Factor: China is Australia’s one of the biggest trade partners and hence at times divergence on the issue of China is seen in the bilateral negotiations.

2. Connectivity: Due to large geographical distance and less physical and digital connectivity the trade relations have not reached their actual potential.

3. Agriculture: India has shown concerns about Australian dairy products, wheat, and barley which can impact the Indian market while Australia has demanded access to Indian markets.

4. Racism: There have been cases of racial attacks and discrimination against Indians in Australia which has strained the relationship to a certain extent.

5. Abuse of Visas: Australia has alleged that Indians have abused visas in Australia and settled over and above the prescribed period.

However, despite these challenges, India and Australia share a common vision for the betterment of humanity. A shared value system, larger diaspora, and similar worldview can help both the countries to further increase coordination cooperation, and collaboration among themselves.

 

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