India Australia Relations

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 26, 2022, 4:47

India Australia Relations have always been positive, with both nations sharing values of democracy, freedom of press and equality. Both nations were once part of the British Empire and are now Commonwealth countries with strategic interests in Asia-Pacific.

On 4 June 2020, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, participated in the Australia-India Leaders' Virtual Summit and elevated the bilateral Strategic Partnership concluded in 2009 to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). This strategic alliance marks a step forward for the two nations to expand their trade and economic partnership, as mentioned in India Economic Strategy (IES).

In this blog, we will take a look at the positive developments of these two countries and the strategic partnerships that bind these two nations:

Significance of India Australia Relations

  1. Historical ties between India and Australia date back to the European settlement in Australia in 1788. The British East India Company controlled trade from the colony of New South Wales through Kolkata.
  2. Both India and Australia strengthened their relationship by establishing the India Trade Office in Sydney in 1941.
  3. Since the end of the Cold War and India's decision to launch major economic reforms in 1991, relations between Australia and India have grown closer.
  4. In 2009, a 'Strategic Partnership' including a 'Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation was signed, bringing the two nations to work closely on multiple fronts.
  5. The Indian diaspora is one of the fastest-growing in Australia, and over 721,000 Indian-origin people lived in Australia as per numbers in 2020. It represents Australia's second-largest overseas-born group, and India remains Australia's largest source of skilled migrants and second-largest source of international students.

India Australia Relations - Political Relations

  1. India and Australia regularly interact at major international conferences like the G20 Summit, East Asia Summit and other bilateral events.
  2. Australian and Indian Foreign Ministers meet regularly for the Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue, alternately held in Australia and India.
  3. Since 2015, India-Australia 2+2 Foreign Secretaries and Defence Secretaries Dialogue has been held each year to enhance policy and security cooperation.
  4. Trilateral talks between India, Australia and Japan were held in New Delhi in 2015 and have been taking place each year alternatively.
  5. Indonesia-Australia-India Senior Officials' Strategic Dialogue was established in 2017, with the first meeting held in Bogor, Indonesia.

India Australia Relations - Economic & Trade Relations

  1. Two-way goods and services trade between India and Australia was $24.4 billion in 2020. Australia invested $15.4 billion in India in 2020. The two-way foreign direct investment stock was also valued at $1.4 billion in 2020.
  2. The economic engagement between the nations is underpinned by the India Economic Strategy, prepared by Australian Think Thank, to define new avenues to unlock opportunities offered by Indian Economic growth.
  3. India is the seventh-largest trade partner of Australia, and India's main exports to Australia include refined petroleum, medicines, etc.
  4. India's major imports from Australia include coal, copper ores, gold and education-related services.
  5. Australia's education exports to India are valued at $6 billion and account for around 88 per cent of the total in 2020. At the end of 2020, Indian students in Australia numbered 115,137.
  6. A Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement was signed between the two countries in 2014. The Australian Parliament also passed the "Civil Nuclear Transfer to India Bill 2016", which ensures that uranium mining companies in Australia may fulfil contracts to supply uranium to India for civil use.
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India Australia Relations - Military Relations

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement has been signed between the two nations that enhance defence cooperation and ease the conduct of large-scale joint military exercises.
There is a technical Agreement on White Shipping Information Exchange.
The Indian Air Force participated for the first time in Exercise Pitch Black in Australia in 2018.
India and Australia have conducted AUSINDEX, a bilateral naval exercise to further developments on the seafront.

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India Economic Strategy to 2035

In addition to existing partnerships, the Australian prime minister has announced the implementation of "An India Economic Strategy to 2035", a vision document that will shape India-Australia bilateral ties.

This document is based on the three-pillar strategy; Economic ties, Geostrategic Engagement and Rethinking Culture.

The report identifies 10 sectors and 10 states in an evolving Indian market where Australia has competitive advantages. These sectors are divided into the flagship sector (education), three lead sectors (agribusiness, resources, and tourism) and six promising sectors (energy, health, financial services, infrastructure, sport, science and innovation).

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FAQs on India Australia Relations

Q1. What is India Australia Relations' current relationship?

India Australia Relations are diplomatic and share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Both nations are members of the Commonwealth of Nations and share political, economic, security, linguistic and sporting ties.

Q2. With regard to India Australia Relations, how are India and Australia similar?

India Australia Relations have many similarities, such as -

  • Both countries have a colonial past
  • Both countries have a democratic government and enjoy a free press and independent judicial system
  • Both countries share English as the primary language of commerce and industry
  • Both countries have a significant interest in sports, including the love for cricket

Q3. With regard to India Australia Relations, is India an ally of Australia?

India Australia Relations have a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) and have a mutual understanding, trust, shared interests and shared values of democracy and the rule of law.

Q4. How are India Australia Relations for Trade Relations?

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia, India was Australia's seventh-largest trading partner and sixth-largest export market in 2020. The primary source of trade includes coal and education. Education is Australia's largest service export to India, valued at $6 billion and accounting for 88% of the total in 2020.