Australia and India advance strategic partnership

Media release

1 November 2013

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop yesterday held talks with Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid in Perth to discuss ways to enhance the Strategic Partnership between Australia and India.

"Advancing relations with India is a priority for the Australian Government," Ms Bishop said. "Our discussion followed very productive talks between Prime Minister Abbott and Prime Minister Singh at the annual Leaders' Meeting in Brunei on 10 October."

Ministers reaffirmed the commitment of both countries to finalise a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement to enable the sale of Australian uranium to India and announced that the third round of negotiations would be held in Delhi in the week of 25 November.

"I underlined Australia's interest in working closely with India in the G20 on areas of common priority, including investment financing, during Australia's 2014 host year. I briefed Minister Khurshid on the Australian Government's commitment to open trade and investment policies and welcomed further Indian investment into Australia," Ms Bishop said.

"We agreed that conclusion of a high-quality Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement would underpin a further significant expansion of the trade and investment relationship to mutual benefit."

Ministers discussed the importance of building a strategic relationship on energy security and indicated that the two sides were working to finalise dates for the second ministerial meeting on energy security.

"Following the successful visit by Indian Defence Minister Antony to Australia in June, we also had good discussions on how to strengthen our security and strategic cooperation, including reviewing progress towards conducting a bilateral maritime exercise in 2015," she said.

Ministers also confirmed that the inaugural cyber security dialogue would be held in the first half of 2014, and reiterated the two countries' commitment to work together to address threats such as terrorism and transnational crime.

"People-to-people links are an important element of the bilateral relationship, with India now the largest source of skilled migrants to Australia and the second largest source of international students. Australia is pleased that a major conference of persons of Indian origin, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, will be held in Australia in November," Ms Bishop said.

Australia and India agreed to a Strategic Partnership in 2009 in recognition of the significance and potential of the bilateral relationship. India is Australia's fifth-largest export market and a significant investor into Australia.

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