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Indian Prime Minister, Australia’s Special Trade Envoy Meet To Double Down On Strategic Partnership

Narendra Modi met the former Australian Prime Minister to strengthen bilateral trade and recover economies from Covid-19.

NEW DELHI — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott A.C. on his visit to India as Scott Morrison’s Special Trade Envoy for the country on Aug. 5.

“The prime minister and the now trade advisor to the United Kingdom discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral trade, investment, and economic cooperation to realize the full potential of the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” said the Prime Ministers Office in a statement.

“They emphasized that enhanced economic cooperation between India and Australia would help both countries better address the economic challenges emerging out of the Covid-19 pandemic, and would also help them in realizing their shared vision of a stable, secure, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.”

Modi expressed his satisfaction at the stellar growth of India-Australia ties in recent times and acknowledged the important contributions of Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the former prime minister in this journey.

He also recalled his virtual summit last year with Morrison and reiterated his desire to host Morrison in India as soon as conditions permit.

At the Leaders’ Virtual Summit held between Modi and Morrison on June 4, 2020, the bilateral relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, under which India and Australia committed, among other things, to encourage expanded trade and investment flows for mutual benefit and decided to re-engage on a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

The present visit by Tony Abbott AC is reflective of this shared ambition, as per the statement.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also met Tony Abbott and said that complementarities between both countries provide immense scope for augmenting the economic relationship.

The two leaders held discussions on various issues of mutual interest.

A Finance Ministry release said that Abbott complimented India for undertaking comprehensive and sustained reform programs. The country has continued to demonstrate robust growth despite the disruptive impact of the pandemic.

Abbott emphasized that Australia views India as a long-standing, valued, and trusted partner.

Sitharaman appreciated the credible progress observed in economic and commercial relations between the two countries over the past decade, including the elevation of the India-Australia bilateral relationship into a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“The Finance Minister also emphasized that the complementarities between both countries provide immense scope for augmenting the economic relationship,” the release said.

She highlighted that recent economic reforms and easing of Foreign Direct Investment norms in India provide opportunities for Australian investors. The Australian Superannuation funds have invested in National Investment & Infrastructure Fund and have been invited to look at various opportunities to invest in Indian infrastructure.

The Finance Minister said a team from Australia could engage with the Indian side to better explore the avenues for investment in National Infrastructure Pipeline projects.

The release said that Australia is an important bilateral partner of India. Bilateral trade has been growing steadily for the past decade. There is an immense potential for the two countries to enhance it further in light of the wide spectrum of complementarities and strengths in the post-Covid period.

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Krishna Kakani