In a recent episode of the program Spotlight, a discussion was held on the topic of strengthening India-Australia relations. The participants were former diplomat Skand Ranjan Tayal and Sonu Sood, Akashvani Correspondent. The conversation delved into various aspects of the recent visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Australia and its implications for bilateral ties.

Skand Ranjan Tayal, reflecting on the trajectory of India-Australia relations, emphasized the significant progress made in the past decade. He noted that despite Australia’s initial reluctance to supply uranium to India, the two countries have now forged a comprehensive strategic partnership. Tayal highlighted three key areas of synergy: energy, economy, and education. He also underscored the importance of resilient supply chains, in which India can play a crucial role, reducing dependency on a single country, particularly in light of challenges posed by China.

The discussion further touched upon the outcomes of the G7 meeting in Hiroshima and the Quad meetings. Tayal praised Prime Minister Modi’s leadership in advocating for the concerns of the Global South and promoting peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific through the Quad. He mentioned the increasing acceptability of the Quad among countries in the region, with South Korea expressing interest in cooperating with the group.

Tayal acknowledged India’s successful management challenges particularly in light of its resilience in facing challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine-Russia conflict, noting its high growth rate, robust banking system, and stability in comparison to other countries in the region. He emphasized that India’s emergence as a leader in various areas, including the economy, strategy, and defense, is a testament to its political and economic stability.

Climate change and cooperation between developed and developing countries were also discussed. Tayal stressed the need for developed countries to fulfill their commitments on climate finance and expressed India’s commitment to addressing climate change through self-initiated actions, such as adopting renewable energy sources and reducing energy consumption.

The conversation then turned to the Indian diaspora in Australia and its role in cementing bilateral relations. Tayal highlighted the significant Indian population in Australia, comprising approximately 3.1% of the country’s population. He mentioned the cultural values and talent pool of Indians, which align with Australian thinking, making India an attractive source of talent for Australia. Discussions are underway regarding a migration and mobility partnership agreement between the two countries, which would further enhance cooperation.

Finally, the discussion explored the impact of the visit on economic and trade ties between India and Australia. Tayal noted the existing two-way trade of over $40 billion and highlighted the potential for increased investment and trade facilitated by comprehensive economic cooperation agreements. He emphasized the growth prospects in the energy sector, overall economy, and education sector.

The discussion shed light on the positive developments in India-Australia relations and the potential for further strengthening ties. The participants highlighted the shared values and interests between the two countries, with a focus on areas such as energy, economy, education, and defense cooperation. The visit by Prime Minister Modi has set a positive trajectory for bilateral relations, ensuring continued growth and collaboration in the future.

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