Australia's relationship with India has been further advanced in talks this week between Foreign Minister Bob Carr and India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid in New Delhi.
Senator Carr was in New Delhi from January 20-22 for talks on regional security and economic issues and for the 8th Foreign Ministers' Framework Dialogue.
Senator Carr said India was Australia's fourth-largest export market with two-way trade exceeding $18 billion last year.
"Australia and India also have common views on strategic issues including a shared interest in Indian Ocean health and security, and on increased prosperity in the Indo-Pacific," Senator Carr said
"Australia's Indian community of more than 450,000 people is our fastest growing migrant community and India is our second-largest source of international students.
"India's energy needs are growing quickly and the country has set a target of 25 per cent of base-load power generation to be nuclear by 2050.
"In discussions we agreed the first round of negotiations on a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement would commence on March 18 this year."
Senator Carr said discussions had also covered:
- Support for Afghanistan;
- Maritime security in the Indian Ocean;
- Joint efforts to combat terrorism; and
- An agreement to an expanded bilateral dialogue on cyber policy.
"We agreed to work closely on strengthening regional and global institutions such as the East Asia Summit and the G20 – in particular in the lead up to Australia's G20 chairmanship in 2014," Senator Carr said
"Australia will host the next Indian Ocean Rim Council of Ministers (IOR-ARC) meeting in Perth in November 2013 when we take on the role as Chair.
"We also discussed strengthening bilateral investment and trade including the upcoming visit to India by Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson."
"Lastly, we discussed our shared interest in water management.
"As part of the Australia-India Water Technology Partnership I was pleased to announce the first phase of the $12 million initiative, to commence with a pilot of an Australian modelling tool in the Brahmani and Baitarani river basin in eastern India.
"This initiative will help improve flood warning systems and flood management in the Koshi river basin."
The next round of the Foreign Ministers Framework Dialogue would be held in Australia in 2014.
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