Australia, India took a pledge of harmony in economic, defense sectors. Australia and India have agreed to accelerate the Comprehensive Economic Partnership and boost their defense ties, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in New Delhi on Friday.
Last year, the two countries signed a free trade agreement called the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), the first such agreement signed by India with a developed country in a decade.
However, a much larger Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) has been stuck in negotiations for over a decade. Consultations between the countries resumed in 2011 but were suspended in 2016 as talks were deadlocked.
Talks resumed in 2021 but a deal has so far proved elusive.
“We have also agreed to conclude our ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement as soon as possible and I hope we will be able to finalize it this year,” Albanese told reporters, who is on a three-day visit to India. ,
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“This transformative deal will realize the full potential of the bilateral economic relationship, create new job opportunities and raise the standard of living for the people of both Australia and India.”
Bilateral trade between the countries stood at $27.5 billion in 2021 and India says trade is expected to nearly double to $50 billion in five years under the ECTA.
India and Australia are security partners through the Quad grouping, which also includes the United States and Japan.
Albanese said Australia and India made significant and ambitious progress in strengthening defense and security ties and also discussed climate change issues.