Thursday, 11 June 2020
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator Abetz both for his question and, particularly, his interest in this matter, given that he is the Australian patron of the Australian-India Alliance. The Morrison government is delivering on our commitment to deepen Australia's relationships with key partners in the Indo-Pacific. India is, of course, the world's most populous democracy and a rising economic and strategic power in our region. Last week Prime Ministers Morrison and Modi, held a virtual summit—India's first. It was a landmark moment in the ties between our nations. Australia and India agreed, and announced, that we will elevate our relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership underpinned by democratic principles, the shared promotion of the rules-based international order and the preservation of an open and inclusive Indo-Pacific. In a time of great global challenges, it's more important than ever that countries such as Australia and India come together to reinforce our common values.
A new joint declaration on maritime cooperation signals the commitment of Australia and India to a rules-based maritime order in the Indo-Pacific, which is founded on respect for the sovereignty of all nations and international law, particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. The partnership will strengthen maritime domain awareness and increase cooperation on major transnational challenges, such as people smuggling, arms and narcotics trafficking, climate change, terrorism, and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Our partnership is grounded in strong people-to-people links and the invaluable contribution of Indian migrants to modern Australia. As a proud resident of Western Sydney, I can tell you that Harris Park wouldn't be the same without the contribution of our Western Sydney Indian community and so many vibrant members of the Indian diaspora in Australia.
The Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership is a major and significant reflection of the relationship between our two countries. It takes our relationship to a new level of practical cooperation, reflecting both the depth and the breadth of our mutual interests. In addition to the CSP text itself, we've signed eight substantive agreements that will strengthen technical cooperation and create new opportunities for Australian businesses. We'll work more closely than ever with India to build our ties in mining and critical minerals, in vocational education, training, water resources, public administration, science and technology and defence. The Defence Minister, Minister Reynolds, and I are very pleased that we've also agreed to foreign and defence minister two- plus-two meetings at least every two years. Australia is just the third country to join such meetings with India, along with Japan and the United States.
Last week, Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar and I signed a new landmark Australia-India Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technologies Cooperation. This arrangement will create opportunities to strengthen our technical and economic linkages with a technologically aspirational India. A new Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership will create a research and development fund for our businesses and researchers and support other countries to improve their cyber-resilience. Australia and India have a shared vision for an open, free, rules based and secure internet. Importantly, this will also ensure that cyber and technological cooperation will sit at the core of our new comprehensive strategic partnership as we forge a dynamic Australia-India 21st century relationship.