OZ, India committed to comprehensive economic treaty
Chennai: India and Australia are "greatly committed" towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement that will benefit both the countries, a top Australian official said here on Monday.
Australian High Commissioner to India Patrick Suckling said four rounds of negotiations had been held between the two countries on this agreement with the negotiators scheduled to meet for the fifth round scheduled this May.
"There is a great commitment at the political levels in India and Australia for the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement," he said at the 23rd Annual Day of Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce here.
Suckling said the "high quality, competitive agreement" will benefit both the countries, even as he noted that bilateral trade, which was at over AU$20 billion, will go up a "lot higher the scale in couple of decades".
The business relations, which cover areas including energy and mining sectors, will be a "win-win situation" for both the countries even as India was likely to double its coal import from Australia from the present AU$100 mn, he said.
Besides, Canberra was also looking at New Delhi to engage it more in strategic partnership, especially on the maritime security front, Suckling said.
Defence Minister A K Antony, Finance Minister P Chidambaram and HRD Minister Kapil Sibal are scheduled to fly Down Under as part of official engagement in coming months, he said, adding that this showed the countries has "good, two-way relationship".
To a question on attacks on Indian students in Australia a few years back, he said they were not victims of targeted strikes.
Besides Indians, Chinese and South Korean students were also attacked, all mainly for cash and belongings since they were also employed part-time. However, he said an element of racism could not be denied in those attacks and the Australian federal government had pushed the concerned states to take effective steps to curb recurrence of such incidents.
A majority of the 55,000 Indian students in Australia have given "overwhelmingly" positive response about their stay there, Suckling claimed.