India and Australia have announced a migration agreement and a green hydrogen task force as part of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit. The two leaders also said they expect to complete negotiations on a free trade deal by the end of the year.
The migration agreement will promote two-way mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers and business people. This will allow individuals to travel between India and Australia for short-term stay, study, research and work purposes.
The green hydrogen task force will promote cooperation on producing the gas without the use of fossil fuels. This will help in reducing carbon emissions and will contribute towards curbing climate change. The task force will research and implement clean energy technologies to produce green hydrogen.
The Prime Ministers also announced new diplomatic posts in Bengaluru, India, and Brisbane, Australia. These posts will help in strengthening diplomatic ties between the two nations.
India and Australia have been keen on enhancing their bilateral relations. The two countries share strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific region, which has been marked by China’s growing assertiveness. The two leaders reiterated their commitment to an open, prosperous and secure Indo-Pacific region.
However, Mr Modi’s visit has been protested by activists who accuse his government of restricting Muslim and other minorities’ rights, as well as press freedom. Anti-Modi posters appeared around Sydney while Sikhs have also used the visit to demand a separate state.
Mr Modi raised concerns about attacks on Hindu temples in Sydney with Mr Albanese, who said “strict actions” would be taken against the culprits. “We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between India and Australia by their actions or thoughts,” Mr Modi said in a joint press conference.
The visit comes at a time when Australia is seeking to reduce its economic dependence on China amid growing tensions between the two nations. Australia’s trade with China has been affected after China imposed trade tariffs on Australian goods last year.
India is looking at expanding its strategic ties with Australia and other nations in the region as part of its “Act East” policy. The policy seeks to enhance India’s economic and strategic engagement with countries in the Asia-Pacific region. India is also a member of the Quad alliance, which includes the United States, Japan, and Australia.
Overall, India and Australia’s ties have significant potential to grow in the coming years, especially in the areas of trade, defense, and technology. The new migration agreement and the green hydrogen task force are positive steps towards enhancing cooperation between the two nations.