Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be holding India-Australia Virtual Summit with Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 4th June 2020. Dates for the visit of Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison to India this year had been finalised, but the visit could not take place. It was also agreed to hold a “Virtual Summit”. This is the first time that Prime Minister Modi will be holding a “Bilateral Virtual Summit”, this signifies the strengthening of ties with Australia and its upward trajectory.
The two Prime Ministers earlier had a telephonic conversation on 6th April 2020, where they discussed the ongoing COVID-19, including facilitation and support for citizens stranded in each other’s country. There is an Indian Diaspora, which has contributed significantly to the linkages between the two countries. During the telephonic conversation, PM Scott Morrison spoke of the Indian community, including Indian students being valued as a vibrant part of the Australian society.
India and Australia have very warm and friendly relations, which have been expanding and growing steadily.
The Strategic Partnership between the two countries was strengthened in 2014 – with the visit of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to India in September 2014, and the visit of PM Modi to Australia in November 2014. Framework for Security Cooperation between Australia and India signed in November 2014 during the visit of PM Modi to Australia laid the foundation for intensified foreign, defence and security policy exchanges between the two countries. Since then, regular meetings of the institutional dialogues have been taking place.
High-level interactions have also continued. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, visited India in April 2017; the Governor General of Australia visited India in March 2018 to attend the founding Summit of the International Solar Alliance and Rashtrapatiji made a historic visit to Australia in November 2018. PM Modi and PM Morrison have met four times during the last one and half years – on the sidelines of EAS in Singapore (14 November 2018), on the sidelines of G20 in Osaka (29 June 2019), on the margins of G7 Summit in Biarritz (25 August 2019) and on the margins of EAS in Bangkok (04 November 2019).
Economic engagement has been growing. In 2018-19, the trade between the two countries was around US$ 21 billion. Australia’s cumulative investment in India is about US$ 10.74 billion whereas India’s total investment in Australia is US$ 10.45 billion. AustralianSuper Pension Fund has invested US$ 1 billion in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund. The two countries are looking at stepping up investments and trade with each other.
As two democratic nations, India and Australia have developed an understanding of each other’s perspectives on regional and global issues. We have a shared approach to a free, open, inclusive, and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
Australia has supported India’s global initiatives such as ISA, CDRI and Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative (IPOI). Australia supports India’s membership of an expanded United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In the recent past, Australia supported our membership for Australia Group, and Wassenaar Arrangement and favours India’s membership of NSG.
The Virtual Summit will be an opportunity for the two leaders to review the broad framework of the relationship, in the context of growing ties between India and Australia, and to discuss their respective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, a press release of the Ministry of External Affairs said.