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JOINT STATEMENT : INDIA-AUSTRALIA VIRTUAL SUMMIT

March 21, 2022

The Honourable Shri Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, and the Honourable Scott Morrison MP, Prime Minister of Australia, held the 2nd India-Australia Virtual Summit on 21 March 2022.

2. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP). They welcomed the substantial progress in deepening political, economic, security, cyber, technology and defence cooperation. They underscored that the bilateral relationship has prospered on the strong foundations of trust, understanding, common interests and the shared values of democracy and the rule of law. They committed to holding Annual Summits to drive closer cooperation.

3. Leaders looked forward to India’s 2023 G20 presidency and reiterated their commitment to work closely on economic issues of global interests and concerns.

Economic and trade cooperation

4. Leaders committed to deepening the economic relationship under the CSP, including through the Australia India Business Exchange. Prime Minister Morrison was pleased to refer to the launch of the Australia India Infrastructure Forum and Australia’s intention to open a new Consulate-General in Bengaluru and the announcement of new initiatives to drive two-way trade and innovation, including cooperation on standards, future skills and a new Australia India Innovation Network.

5. Leaders welcomed the considerable progress made in the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations. They expressed satisfaction on the large degree of convergence on many of the elements which are close to finalisation. Leaders re-committed to concluding an Interim CECA at the earliest and work towards an ambitious, full CECA by the end of the year to enhance trade and investment ties and deepen the CSP. Leaders also welcomed the renewal of the India-Australia Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation.

6. Leaders emphasised the importance of an early resolution of the issue of taxation of offshore income of Indian firms under the India Australia Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA).

7. Leaders reiterated their commitment to a free, fair, inclusive and rules-based trade environment. They reaffirmed their commitment to uphold and strengthen the rules based multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, and looked forward to MC12 which has been agreed to be held in June. They noted the importance of working together to build, strengthen and diversify supply chains and avoid supply chain disruptions.

Climate, energy, science, technology and research cooperation


8. Leaders recognised the significant breadth of science and technology cooperation between the two countries. They welcomed the extension of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) – a pillar of collaboration on science, technology and research – and the commitment to build on the successful 2021 India Australia Circular Economy Hackathon.

9. Leaders underscored their commitment to encouraging nationally appropriate actions to reduce emissions to address climate change, energy security and job creation, and continuing international collaboration, including through the Quad, the G20, the UNFCCC and International Solar Alliance. They noted the contribution of sustainable consumption and production, and resource-efficient, circular economies towards combating climate change. In this context, Leaders noted the importance of mindful consumption, more sustainable lifestyles and reducing waste. Prime Minister Modi reiterated the call for a global mass movement for sustainable lifestyles that promote mindful consumption and reduce waste.

10. Leaders welcomed the fourth India-Australia Energy Dialogue held between Minister Singh and Minister Taylor on 15 February 2022, supporting wider energy and resources collaboration. They welcomed the Letter of Intent between India and Australia on New and Renewable Energy Technology, which aims at driving down the cost of low and zero emissions technologies to be cost competitive with higher emitting alternatives, and committed to intensify cooperation on clean technologies, including through research and development for the required breakthroughs and through forums like Mission Innovation. Leaders also welcomed further multilateral energy cooperation ahead of the 2022 International Energy Agency (IEA) Ministerial meeting, including Australia’s funding contribution of $2 million to the IEA Clean Energy Transitions Programme to support enhanced IEA India activities and to progress a pathway to IEA membership for India. Leaders looked forward to India’s participation in the Sydney Energy Forum on clean energy supply chains in the Indo-Pacific to be held in July 2022.

11. Leaders noted that the global low carbon transition requires rapid development of clean technologies and equitable access to critical minerals. Leaders reiterated their shared commitment to cooperation on critical minerals and building secure, resilient and sustainable critical minerals supply chains. They expressed satisfaction on the progress made in taking the Implementation Plan forward by the India-Australia Joint Working Group, including technical exchanges between research and scientific organisations, and a bilateral business and investment roundtable. They welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between India’s KhanijBidesh Ltd. (KABIL) and Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office for joint cooperation on critical minerals projects.

12. Leaders welcomed the inaugural India-Australia Foreign Ministers’ Cyber Framework Dialogue held between Minister Payne and Minister Jaishankar on 12 February 2022. They welcomed cooperation on cyber governance, cyber security, capacity building, cybercrime, digital economy, and critical and emerging technologies. They emphasised that technology should be designed, developed, governed and used consistent with our shared democratic values and respect for human rights. They reaffirmed their commitment to an open, secure, free, accessible, stable, peaceful and interoperable cyberspace and technologies that adhere to international law. They condemned attempts to use cyberspace and cyber-enabled technologies to undermine international peace and stability. They committed to working cooperatively to strengthen mutual cooperation in various multilateral fora, including in the United Nations in developing international standards, norms and frameworks for cyberspace.

13. Leaders recognised the importance of close cooperation on critical and emerging technology, and on establishing diverse and trusted technology supply chains. They welcomed the agreement to establish the India-Australia Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy in Bengaluru.

14. Leaders underlined the importance of India and Australia’s space engagement including Australia’s ongoing support of India’s Gaganyaan Space Program. Leaders encouraged expansion of bilateral space cooperation arising from India’s space sector reforms. Prime Minister Morrison was pleased to announce a dedicated India stream of the Australian Space Agency’s International Space Investment initiative.

People-to-people ties

15. Leaders acknowledged the strong people-to-people links between India and Australia. Prime Minister Morrison announced the establishment of the Centre for Australia India Relations, to be based in Australia, in addition to the new Maitri Scholarships Program, the Maitri Grants and Fellowships Program and the Australia India Maitri Cultural Partnership. Leaders’ welcomed the Letter of Intent on Migration and Mobility and called for the early conclusion of a Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement, which will support enhanced mobility for students and professionals. Prime Minister Modi welcomed the return of 29 artefacts by the Government of Australia. Leaders also welcomed the Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation and Collaboration on Broadcasting between PrasarBharati, India and SBS, Australia.

16. Leaders recognised the work of both countries to advance gender equality and agreed to continue working together to advance the empowerment of women and girls, including through addressing the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and maths disciplines.

17. With a view to expanding and optimizing the long-standing India Australia education and skilling relationship, and acknowledging the different systems in the two countries for the recognition of education qualifications, Leaders welcomed the arrangement to establish a Taskforce on Education Qualifications Recognition. The Taskforce will deliver a cooperative mechanism, within six months of its establishment, to improve arrangements for the recognition of qualifications (including those earned through diverse delivery modes) for access to higher education, and to support employment opportunities.

COVID-19 cooperation


18. Leaders agreed on the importance of the global interoperability of vaccination certificate solutions. Prime Minister Morrison welcomed India’s Vaccine Maitri Initiative and India’s significant role in global vaccination efforts.

19. Recognising their strong cooperation through the Quad and COVAX, Leaders reiterated their resolve to promote fair, timely and equitable access to high quality, safe, effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and critical medical supplies globally. They emphasised their ongoing cooperation to ensure delivery of high-quality vaccines to Indo-Pacific and global partners.

Security and defence cooperation


20. Leaders agreed to deepen cooperation to address security and defence threats and challenges and welcomed the establishment of the General Rawat India-Australia Young Defence Officer Exchange Program. They welcomed enhanced maritime information sharing and maritime domain awareness. They affirmed their commitment to build upon defence information sharing arrangements to coordinate more closely across the Indo Pacific. They looked forward to India’s participation in Australia’s Indo Pacific Endeavour exercise later this year.

21. Leaders underscored the importance of reciprocal access arrangements in facilitating deeper operational defence cooperation and its contribution towards free and open critical regional maritime corridors. Leaders reaffirmed following up on opportunities for further defence cooperation in areas of mutual interest.

22. Recognising that terrorism remains a threat to peace and stability in our region, the Leaders strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the use of terrorist proxies for cross-border terrorism. They reiterated the urgent need for all countries to take immediate, sustained, verifiable and irreversible action to ensure that no territory under their control is used for terrorist attacks, and to expeditiously bring to justice the perpetrators of such attacks. They agreed to continue to share information and coordinate on counter-terrorism efforts bilaterally, and in Quad consultations and in multilateral fora.

Regional and multilateral cooperation

23. Leaders expressed their serious concern about the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. They reiterated the need for an immediate cessation of hostilities. They emphasised that the contemporary global order has been built on the UN Charter, international law and respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of states. They agreed to remain closely engaged on the issue and its broader implications for the Indo-Pacific.

24. Leaders expressed their shared commitment to a free, open and rules-based Indo Pacific, supported by a robust regional architecture, with ASEAN at its centre. They reaffirmed their commitment to an inclusive and prosperous region in which the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states is respected and countries are free from military, economic and political coercion.

25. Leaders underscored their commitment to the cooperation between India, Australia, Japan and the United States on advancing the Quad’s positive and ambitious agenda to promote regional stability and prosperity. They welcomed the virtual meeting between Quad Leaders in March 2022 and looked forward to the next in person Leaders’ meeting in the coming months. They also welcomed the close cooperation between India and Australia on the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative.

26. Prime Minister Modi appreciated the briefing by Prime Minister Morrison on the Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) partnership. Leaders recognised Australia’s commitment to not develop nuclear weapons and to uphold the highest standards of non proliferation.

27. Leaders affirmed their commitment to further strengthening cooperation in the Indian Ocean region and with other Indian Ocean countries, including their support for the Indian Ocean Rim Association. Prime Minister Modi welcomed Australia’s enhanced engagement in the Indian Ocean in maritime and disaster preparedness, trade, investment and connectivity.

28. Leaders discussed their ongoing cooperation to support the Pacific’s resilience and recovery. Prime Minister Morrison welcomed India’s assistance to Tonga in the wake of the Hunga Tonga-HungaHa'apai volcanic eruption and tsunami and to Kiribati in in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Prime Minister Modi acknowledged Australia’s role in supporting the delivery of Indian HADR to these Pacific partners.

29. Leaders underlined the importance of being able to exercise rights and freedoms in all seas and oceans of the Indo-Pacific region, consistent with international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), including freedom of navigation and overflight. They emphasised that resolution of disputes should be carried out through peaceful means in accordance with international law without threat or use of force or any attempt to unilaterally change status quo and that countries should exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability. They reiterated the importance of adherence to international law, particularly as reflected in the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), to meet challenges to the maritime rules-based order, including in the South China Sea. They called for any Code of Conduct in the South China Sea to be effective, substantive and fully consistent with international law, not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of any nation, including those not party to these negotiations, under international law and support existing inclusive regional architecture.

30. Leaders called for the immediate cessation of violence against civilian populations in Myanmar, the release of all those arbitrarily detained, including foreigners, and unhindered humanitarian access. They urged Myanmar to implement ASEAN’s Five-Point Consensus and encouraged the international community to work together to support an end to the violence.

31. Leaders reiterated their firm commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, in view of the deteriorating humanitarian situation and also reaffirmed calls on those in positions of power across Afghanistan to adhere to counter terrorism commitments and human rights, in accordance with UNSCR 2593. They reiterated their call for protection of rights of women and girls and their full participation in public life. They agreed that a broad based and inclusive government is necessary for long term peace and stability in Afghanistan.

32. The meeting reinforced the warm, close bonds between India and Australia and the Leaders reiterated their commitment to driving the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to new heights.

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