Joint Statement by Australian and Indian Prime Ministers

JOINT STATEMENT

PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA

PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA

1.      The Prime Minister of Australia Ms Julia Gillard paid a State Visit to India from 15-17 October, 2012 at the invitation of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

2.       Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard was accorded a ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 17 October, 2012. She laid a wreath at the memorial to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat.

3.       Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh held delegation level talks with Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard called on President Shri Pranab Mukherjee, received External Affairs Minister Shri S.M. Krishna and Leader of Opposition Smt Sushma Swaraj, and met Chairperson, UPA Smt Sonia Gandhi.  Four Memoranda of Understanding were concluded and significant initiatives launched.

4.       The Prime Ministers acknowledged the strengthening of ties in recent years and agreed there was great potential for further growth in the relationship. The India-Australia relationship is anchored in shared values as liberal democracies, converging interests and shared opportunities in the Asian Century.  The bilateral strategic partnership is given effect through rapidly expanding trade and investment ties, common interest in a stable and outward looking Indian-Pacific region, growing collaboration in multilateral and regional forums, and fast growing people-to-people links.

Bilateral Cooperation

5.       The Prime Ministers welcomed the progress made since the relationship was raised to the level of a strategic partnership, in 2009.

6.       Noting the considerable potential to develop further this partnership, the  Prime Ministers agreed to provide high-level political oversight to this process through annual Prime Ministerial meetings, either bilaterally or in the margins of international meetings.

Trade and investment

7.       Trade and investment ties are expanding rapidly. The Prime Ministers noted that trade between both countries had more than doubled in the past six years to over $20 billion. They noted that trade must expand for mutual benefit and encouraged balanced growth in trade as a long term, sustainable boost to economic growth in both countries.

8.       The Prime Ministers welcomed the progress towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to facilitate greater trade and investment links. They renewed the commitment of both countries for achieving an equitable, comprehensive and high-quality agreement.

9.       The Prime Ministers noted the report of the second India-Australia CEO Forum and welcomed the contribution made by business in broadening and deepening the bilateral economic relationship.

10.     Noting the expanding economic links between India and Australia, the Prime Ministers welcomed more  regular engagement and dialogue between the two Finance Ministries.

11.     The Prime Ministers noted the potential to further develop and diversify commercial relations and that this would be supported by the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Customs Matters which would enable effective enforcement of Customs laws and facilitate legitimate trade.

12.     The Prime Ministers welcomed the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding on Wool, which would further facilitate bilateral trade, and the Memorandum on Cooperation in Civil Space Science, which would create a framework for peaceful space cooperation.

13.     Underlining the importance of greater connectivity to support growing commercial and cultural ties, including in the education and tourism sectors, the Prime Ministers welcomed the announcement that Air India would commence direct flights to Australia by the first quarter of 2013.

Energy and resources

14.     The Prime Ministers agreed to deepen the cooperation between India and Australia on energy security through an annual Ministerial-level dialogue, to be led by the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India and the Australian Minister for Resources and Energy.

15.     Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh welcomed the decision of the Australian Government on uranium sales to India, noting that nuclear energy will play an important role in India’s future energy needs.  The Prime Ministers announced that India and Australia would commence negotiations on a bilateral Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement which, for Australia, is a prerequisite for uranium sales to other countries.

16.     Australia’s supplies of energy and mineral resources to India have been rising steadily.  Indian investment in Australia in the mining and resources sector has been growing rapidly. Australia welcomed the interest of both private and public sector companies from India in the resources sector.

17.     The Prime Ministers agreed that India and Australia should collaborate more closely on the common challenge of managing scarce water resources.  To give effect to this, they announced a Water Technology Partnership, under which Australia and India would share technologies to build capacity to better manage this vital natural resource.  The partnership would include sharing of advanced Australian modelling work on river basin flows.

Regional and international cooperation 

18.     India and Australia share a common interest in the Indian Ocean and in the maintenance of stability and security through the Indian-Pacific region.  As Indian Ocean states both also recognise the importance of the maritime theatre to our future security.

19.     India and Australia, as Chair and Vice Chair respectively of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation, will work closely to strengthen the Association, the apex pan-Indian Ocean multilateral forum, through concrete steps towards more effective practical cooperation in the six priority areas of maritime security and piracy; fisheries management; disaster risk reduction; tourism and cultural exchanges; academic and S&T cooperation; and trade and investment facilitation; which were identified by the member countries in the 11th meeting of Council of Ministers held in Bengaluru, in 2011. Both countries look forward to taking this collaboration within the Association to deeper level during the 12th Council of Ministers meeting in Gurgaon, India on 2 November 2012.

20.     The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the positive security and defence ties between both countries, and committed to enhance maritime cooperation further, including through continued joint naval exercises.

21.     India and Australia both recognise the importance of the East Asia Summit (EAS) as a crucial regional institution with the mandate to consider a broad range of strategic, political and economic issues. The Prime Ministers reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to work together to strengthen further the agenda of the EAS.

22.     The Prime Ministers welcomed ongoing cooperation through other regional bodies such as the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Asia Europe Meeting.  Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard reaffirmed Australia’s support for India’s membership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum (APEC).

23.     As Australia prepares to chair the G-20 meeting in 2014, the Prime Ministers committed both countries to continue to engage closely in that forum to deliver concrete outcomes that will promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy.

24.     The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of reform of the UN, including the Security Council, to better reflect contemporary realities. Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh warmly welcomed Australia’s continued support for India as a permanent member in a reformed United Nations Security Council. India underlined Australia’s continued contribution to international peace and security under the UN charter and, in this context, acknowledged Australia’s candidature for a non permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council for the 2013-2014 term.

International security

25.     The Prime Ministers underlined the importance of achieving universal nuclear disarmament and of countering the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard noted India’s sound non-proliferation record and expressed Australia’s recognition of the importance of India’s engagement with the four multilateral export control regimes with the objective of full membership. Both Prime Ministers agreed to annual bilateral non-proliferation and disarmament discussions at level of officials.

26.     The Prime Ministers noted the ongoing work of the Joint Working Group on Counter-terrorism and recommitted both countries to close collaboration against the threat of terrorism.

27.     The Prime Ministers committed both countries to continue to work together closely to fight organised crime.  They noted these efforts would be supported by the Memorandum of Understanding on Narcotics to be concluded by both countries, and announced the decision to negotiate a Agreement on Transfer of Sentenced Persons between India and Australia.

Knowledge partnership

28.     India and Australia continue to be enriched by high quality knowledge partnerships in education, skills and research that support mutual efforts towards greater economic and social progress. Central to this progress is fostering academic, scientific and professional links between India and Australia.

29.     The Prime Ministers welcomed the success of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund in bringing together leading scientists from both countries for world-class research and fostering long-term scientific linkages.  The Prime Ministers noted the broad range of projects supported by the Fund. They welcomed the Australia-India Fellowship Scheme, which will support Indian and Australian researchers spending time at research institutions in the other country, fostering linkages that will underpin the bilateral science relationship into the future.

30.     The Prime Ministers noted the vital role played by the expanding bilateral education and training relationship and its contribution to our national goals for innovation, productivity and growth.  They commended the work of the Australia-India Education Council (AIEC) in providing strategic guidance to advance education, training and research partnerships.  Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard launched the new Endeavour AIEC Research Fellowships, which will support two fellows per year. Under the AIEC, Australia and India agreed to build partnerships between India’s Sector Skills Councils and Australia’s Industry Skills Councils in key industry areas.

31.     Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh expressed appreciation for the continuing efforts of Australian authorities to ensure the welfare and security of Indian students studying in Australia.  In support of this objective, the Prime Ministers welcomed the new Memorandum of Understanding on Student Mobility and Welfare which will expand cooperation on student welfare matters.

People to People and cultural Links

32.     Rapidly growing people-to-people links between Australia and India underpin our developing partnership and will enable both countries to build even stronger relations into the future.  Both Prime Ministers noted with appreciation that the Indian community, which this year was the largest source of skilled migration to Australia and the second largest source of students, is contributing significantly to the economic and social life of Australia.

33.     The Prime Ministers agreed to the recommencement of Social Security Agreement negotiations, including consideration of totalisation provisions.

34.     Arts and culture can be powerful forces for bringing people together  and the two countries are committed to strengthening of bilateral cultural relationship. The Prime Ministers welcomed the staging of Oz Fest, Australia’s biggest cultural festival in India, which will see 100 events across 18 Indian cities between October 2012 and January 2013.

35.     To give further impetus to expanding personal and cultural links, the Prime Ministers directed officials to pursue an Audio-Visual Agreement which would facilitate greater investment in film making in both countries.

36.     Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh announced that India would establish ICCR Chairs of Indian Studies in five Universities in Australia to promote academic and student exchanges.  Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard announced that Australia would provide additional funding of $1.5 million over three years for the Australia-India Institute, and confirmed a grant to help establish a Nalanda University Chair in Environmental Studies would commence in 2013.

37.         The Prime Ministers announced the commencement of negotiations towards a Memorandum of Understanding on the Movement of Persons which will promote dialogue on the regular movement of professional labour and combat irregular migration.

Agreements

38.     The following bilateral memoranda of understanding were signed in the presence of the two Prime Ministers:

  • Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the field of Wool and Woollen Products
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Student Mobility and Welfare
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Civil Space Science, Technology and Education
  • Memorandum of Understanding between Skills DMC and the National Skill Development Corporation

39.     Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard renewed her invitation to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to visit Australia. It was agreed that the dates of the visit would be finalized through diplomatic channels.

40.         Both sides agreed that the State Visit of the Prime Minister of Australia will lead to strengthening of the cooperative relations between the two countries, and will provide further impetus for the future development of the strategic partnership.

Australian PM Julia Gillard in India

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