Australia and India both agreed to sign six pacts while trade agreement remained hard to pin down. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart, Malcolm Turnbull, met to discuss negotiations for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA), energy and education among other things.
Turnbull said he and Modi had a very good discussion about the CECA. But he had also admitted that progress was not as fast as they would like it to be, Time of India reported.
The two leaders have also talked about energy with the Australian leader promising that his country can supply uranium to India at any time. Three years ago, both countries signed a civil nuclear cooperation. "We are working closely with India to meet our respective requirements for the provision of fuel for India's civil nuclear programme," Turnbull added.
In a joint statement, the two leaders stressed their support for continued bilateral nuclear cooperation. They also mentioned that they expect the anticipated commercial export of uranium from Australia to India to start soon.
Turnbull had also expressed Australia's strong support for India's membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, as well as for its membership of the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. Both leaders agreed that India and Australia share common interests in safeguarding safety of sea lines of communication and maritime security.
It has been settled that the bilateral maritime, which was initially held in the Bay of Bengal in 2015, will be repeated off Western Australia in 2018. As for defence ties, the two countries agreed that their ties are solid as they recalled the Special Forces Bilateral Exercise which took place in October.
Moreover, Turnbull revealed that his new "priority" was to complete the Chinese-led regional deal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The deal would involve India and is a substitute to Trans-Pacific Partnership.
According to Financial Review, Turnbull said Australia and India are both in need of closer security ties in the region because the rise of China had resulted in "a sea change in our interest in each other." The prime minister mentioned that among the things Australia and India have in common are a cultural, intellectual and sporting engagement, converging political, economic and strategic interests and a solid foundation of shared democratic values. Australia’s Education Minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, and Vice Chancellors from the Group of Eight, Australia’s highest ranked universities, accompanied the Aussie prime minister in his visit to India.
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