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India, Australia ink cooperation pacts during PM Turnbull's viist

11 April, 2017, 05:58 | Author: Paula Vaughn
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"The Prime Ministers committed to deepening the bilateral defence and security partnership..."

However, no breakthrough was achieved on a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) during talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull who merely made a decision to direct their respective officials to hold an early round of negotiations for the free trade deal. Australia holds the world's largest supplies of uranium, and India is keen to import the mineral that serves as fuel for nuclear reactors.

Besides the powerful coal lobby, the Liberal Prime Minister's visit to India would be followed with avid interest by the Australian universities and vocational training institutes.

On the much-delayed supply of uranium from Australia to India, Joint Secretary (South) in the External Affairs Ministry Jaideep Mazumdar had said Australian parliament had cleared a legislation for the supply of uranium to India past year and now "commercial negotiations" for it are going on, indicating that there was no firming up of any such pact so far. The commercial deals for the supply of uranium is being further negotiated. But the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) will not be among the pacts the nations will sign during the trip.

Turnbull reiterated Australia's support for India's membership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC). The Australian policymakers are buoyed by the fact that the Indian economy is growing at 7 per cent a year and would draw level in size with the United States by about 2050.

They are also a pointer to our connected destinies.

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"The Prime Ministers agreed that the bilateral maritime exercise first held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015 (AUSINDEX) will be repeated off Western Australia in the first half of 2018", the joint statement read while reaffirming their commitment to "peaceful and prosperous" Indo-Pacific. "We have good security cooperation on the maritime front", he added.

India's achievements were admired around the world, he said.

To counter radicalisation, the two leaders emphasised the need for urgent measures to counter terrorism and expressed their determination to take concrete steps to step up cooperation among law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations.

"Alongside China, India is a land of huge opportunity for Australia", the Australian leader said.

Mr. Modi welcomed the passage of the Civil Nuclear Transfers to India Act in the Australian Parliament, opening up opportunities for Australia to support Indian energy generation.

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