India signed a commercial agreement with Australia as pressure mounts on the country to take a stand Russiait’s Ukraine the invasion and that both countries seek to counter the influence of China In the region.
India’s pact with its Western ally Australia, called the Australia-India Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement, was signed in a virtual ceremony on Saturday by Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan and his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal .
It comes against the backdrop of the invasion of Ukraine during which India chose to remain neutral and instead consistently called for a diplomatic solution to end the crisis.
A few days before the signing of the agreement, India was visited by Foreign Ministers of Britain and Russia on the same dayin an effort to pressure the country into taking a stand on the invasion.
Australia and India, however, share a common factor in that they have strained relations with China. Countries are also members of the Quad group which also includes the United States and Japan as members, seen as a significant threat by China to its influence.
Just a week earlier, a visit by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India yielded no results, with India saying in unequivocal terms that its ties with China would continue to remain “disrupted”.
“This is a watershed moment for our bilateral relations. Based on this agreement, together we can increase the resilience of supply chains and also contribute to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region,” Mr Modi said. about the deal.
Mr Morrison added that the India deal represents “one of the biggest economic doors to open in the world today”.
“It’s never all or nothing deals as far as we’re concerned, we see it all as the next step and the next step and the next step,” he told reporters in Tasmania.
Mr Modi said the agreement would help facilitate the exchange of students, professionals and tourists with the aim of expanding work, study and travel opportunities between the two nations.
The deal proposes to remove tariffs on more than 85% of Australian exports to India. Tariffs on mutton, wool, copper and coal, among other goods, will be removed, while 96% of Indian imports into Australia will be duty free.
Morrison said the deal would create trade diversification opportunities for domestic producers and service providers to India worth up to $14.8 billion a year.
“This agreement builds on our strong security partnership and our joint efforts in the Quad, which has taken our economic relationship to a new level,” he said.