India-Australia Joint Working Group Meeting
6th India-Australia Joint Working Group Meeting on Cooperation in Water Resources Held.
GS-02 (Bilateral groupings and agreements)
- The meeting was held between the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India and the Department of Climate Change, Energy and Water, Government of Australia.
- The discussion mainly focused on enhancing cooperation in the water sector and charting the way forward with respect to various ongoing and proposed activities.
- Based on the discussions on various topics such as the integration of MyWell App with NWIC, Australia-India Water Security Initiative (AIWASI), India Young Water Professional Programme, Water Accounting in Practice and Application, Basin Planning Co-design Workshop, Aquawatch Australia, Village Groundwater Cooperatives and in situ remediation of inland salinity, the India-Australia Work Plan for 2024 – 25 was finalized.
India- Australia Relations:
- India and Australia established diplomatic ties in 1941, but faced a low point in 1998 due to Australia’s condemnation of India’s nuclear tests.
- Over the years, shared values, economic engagement, and high-level interactions strengthened the relationship.
- People-to-people ties are robust, with India being a top source of skilled immigrants to Australia.
- The strategic partnership was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020. Defense cooperation, joint military exercises, and their participation in the Quad exemplify their convergence of interests.
- Concerns over strained Australia-China ties, the Galwan Valley clash, and shared support for a rules-based international order drive India and Australia’s collaboration.
- They are the members of various international forums, including the Quad, Commonwealth, and ASEAN Regional Forum.
- Economic cooperation is marked by the Economic Cooperation Trade Agreement, reducing duties and fostering supply chain resilience. Bilateral trade reached $27.5 billion in 2021, with potential to reach $50 billion in five years.
- Cooperation extends to education, with a mechanism for mutual recognition of educational qualifications signed in 2023.
- The clean energy sector sees collaboration on renewable energy technologies and investments in critical minerals.
- However, challenges include the Adani coal mine controversy, visa issues, and attacks on the Indian diaspora, posing strains on the relationship.