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India, Australia relations will 'scale greater heights' with virtual summit: Envoy

ANI | June 01, 2020 05:16 PM
Australian High Commissioner Barry O'Farrell

New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): India-Australia relations will "scale greater heights" with the virtual summit later this week, said Australian High Commissioner Barry O'Farrell on Monday

"India and Australia relations will scale greater heights after the summit-level meeting between the two countries," O'Farrell said.

During the summit, scheduled for June 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison are expected to ramp up efforts to diversify Australia's export markets and find trusted suppliers of vital products and components, a local newspaper, The Australian reported on Tuesday.

The new agreements will focus on reliable supply chains in key strategic sectors, including medical goods, technology and critical minerals, amid heightened tensions with China over Beijing's response to coronavirus pandemic.

The leaders will seal a new defense agreement allowing reciprocal access to bases and co-operation on military technology projects, while a new education partnership will be on the table to help overcome Australian university reliance on Chinese students.

The talks in terms of strategic convergence, now have greater significance as COVID-19 exacerbates the strategic contest between the US and China, and forces like-minded countries to seek out reliable partners.

Australian farmers could also benefit, with talks underway on expanding agricultural exports to India, including barley, as China throws up new trade barriers, media reports stated.

The virtual summit follows the cancellation of Morrison's planned state visit to India in January due to the bushfires.

Morrison said last year, ahead of his planned visit, that India was "a natural partner for Australia", referring to the countries' "shared values" -- a point of differentiation with China. (ANI)

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