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India-Australia Ties

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March 10, 2023

Why in news?

Australian Prime Minister announced an Australia-India education qualification recognition mechanism while on his 2 day tour in Gujarat.

What is the history of India-Australia relationship?

  • Historical ties – The historical ties between India and Australia started immediately following European settlement in Australia from 1788.
  • India-Australia Strategic Relationship – Both countries signed a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation in 2009.
  • Bilateral co-operation – Bilateral mechanisms include Joint Trade, India-Australia '2+2', Energy Security Dialogue, JWGs on different issues etc.
  • Multilateral co-operation – The inaugural Secretary-level trilateral talks between India, Australia and Japan was held in New Delhi in June 2015.
  • The 1st Indonesia-Australia-India Senior Officials’ Strategic Dialogue was held in Bogor, Indonesia on 27th November 2017.
  • Bilateral Trade – India is the 5th largest trade partner of Australia with trade in goods and services.
  • Civil nuclear co-operation – A Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the two countries was signed in 2014.
  • Defence co-operation – The first-ever Bilateral Maritime Exercise, AUSINDEX, was conducted in Visakhapatnam in 2015.
  • In 2018, Indian Air Force participated for the first time in the Exercise Pitch Black in Australia.
  • INS Sahyadri participated in Kakadu, the biennial Exercise of the Australian Navy.
  • The AUSTRAHIND is the exercise of the Special Forces of Army Exercise.
  • Consular cooperation – The Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and the Extradition Treaty between India and Australia, were signed in 2008.

What are the areas of cooperation between the two countries?

  • China factor – Ties between Australia and China were strained after Canberra banned Chinese telecom firm Huawei from the 5G network.
  • China responded by imposing trade barriers on Australian exports, and by cutting off all ministerial contact.
  • India has been facing an aggressive Chinese military along the border.
  • New Delhi and Canberra have been assessing the Chinese challenge since 2013.
  • Economic cooperation – The Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement (ECTA), the first free trade agreement signed by India with a developed country in a decade.
  • Bilateral trade was US$ 27.5 billion in 2021; with ECTA, there is potential for it to reach around US$ 50 billion in 5 years.
  • People-to-people ties – India is one of the top sources of skilled immigrants to Australia.
  • Clean energy – The countries signed a Letter of Intent on New and Renewable Energy in 2022 to bring down the cost of renewable energy technologies, especially ultra-low-cost solar and clean hydrogen.
  • IRIS – India announced matching funds of AUD 10 million for Pacific Island Countries under Infrastructure for Resilient Island States (IRIS).
  • ISA – It also announced AUD 10 million for Pacific Island Countries under International Solar Alliance (ISA).

What is the status of cooperation in the education sector?

  • MREQ – The Mechanism for Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications (MREQ) was signed this year.
  • This will facilitate mobility of students between India and Australia.
  • Indian students are the second largest cohort of foreign students in Australia.
  • New mechanism – The Australia-India education qualification recognition mechanism, degrees obtained in Australia will now be recognised in India, and vice-versa.
  • This move will not apply to professional qualifications such as engineering, medicine and law graduates, which will remain outside the ambit of this agreement.
  • Maitri scholarship – It will provide financial assistance to Indian students in Australia for as long as 4 years.
  • It will attract and support Indian students to study at Australian universities.



  1. The Indian Express │The India-Australia relationship
  2. The Indian Express │Indian educational degrees to be recognised in Australia
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