The progress of the India-Australia free trade agreement towards ratification and steps being taken to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement are encouraging developments that would further boost the growing relationship between the two nations, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has said.
“We are very encouraged to see that the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) that was finalised earlier this year is moving towards its ratification and entry into force. That’s a very good development,” Jaishankar said in his opening statement at the joint press conference with the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong in Canberra on Monday.
The Indian Minister is on an official visit to Australia for the Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue.
“We also note that steps are being taken to amend the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement because that was also a bit of a challenge to growing our business,” he added.
Partnership in education
Pointing out areas which hold potential for improving quality of bilateral partnership, the Indian Minister highlighted the proposal under discussion for an understanding on mobility, on mobility of talent and skills and propelling education partnership particularly bearing in mind, India’s New National Education Policy.
“ We certainly would like to see Australia, which is one of our major partners in education, also having a stronger presence in India, and that’s something which our Prime Ministers had discussed as well when they had met in Tokyo,” he said.
Jaishankar said that he and his Australian counterpart also took stock of other areas of mutual cooperation such as critical minerals, cyber, new and renewable energy to integrate the work already being undertaken in these areas by their respective colleagues.
Since June this year, six Indian Ministers have visited Australia including the Minister for coal and mines, for renewable energy, for education, water resources and home.
The Australian Deputy PM and Defence Minister as well as the Deputy Premier of Western Australia and the Premier of New South Wales have been to India with business delegations.
Once the Australian Parliament ratifies the India Australia ECTA, the two countries would start eliminating tariffs on majority of goods being traded between the two sides.