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Australia has launched an update on India economic strategyThe Australian Government launched the update on its India Economic Strategy at an event in Mumbai on Thursday. Energy, science and innovation are the key focus sectors under it, especially with the Australian-Indian bilateral relationship strongly growing through the Quad (a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and United States).“The Government is focussed on making one of its top tier economic partners. We are pleased to launch the update to the India Economic Strategy tonight. Thank you to my friend Ambassador @anilwad (Anil Wadhwa) – a tireless advocate of the relationship- for his presence,” the Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O Farrell AO tweeted.The launch of the update comes just days after the historic Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA) signed on April 2. At the event, there were questions on how much this would also help India in diversifying its oil imports as prompted by the US, also a member of the Quad.“And (the US is) also making clear that we stand ready to support India in any effort to diversify its imports and serve as a reliable supplier even as they’re only importing about one to two per cent of their oil from Russia,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary had told reporters on Wednesday.Responding to a question on the issue Mr Farrell told NDTV, “Collectively through the Quad we are working on climate change issues and reducing reliance. But, specifically between India and Australia through solar panels and low-cost solar panels, where we have a partnership. Whether it’s with initiatives in green hydrogen where we have an Indian company and an Australian company where they share technology with each other. Collectively we can combat climate change.”Former diplomat Anil Wadhwa said, “I think there are two specific sectors we are talking about. One is of course LNG (Liquefied natural gas) which Australia has. Given that we have reduced duties on these commodities, LNG would become cheaper from Australia, to import. That will open up an avenue.”“We also have on the east coast of India, ports which are developing now. The network is being built up as we speak. That will make it easier to import LNG from western Australia in particular. Then we are talking about power grids in which both countries have a synergy, so this agreement will also help in bringing about that synergy and getting companies together. The third aspect is renewables, in which Australia and India are already working together. Our companies are also in Australia and some Australian companied are working here as well. As we progress with this agreement investments will become that much easier. We are working on all three aspects and as far as India’s exports of refined oil are concerned – those are also going to up because duties on that have also been brought down in the ECTA,” he added.According to the Australian Government, the update that was launched on Thursday, provides a blueprint for deepening ties. The Australian government has announced over Australian $280 million (Rs 1,500 crore) of new initiatives since November 2021 to build out ties across the breadth of the relationship and support India’s leadership in the region. The AI-ECTA aims to double two-way trade and Australia’s goal is to lift India into its top three export markets by 2035 and make it Australia’s third largest outward investment destination in Asia.

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