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10 Apr 2017

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull meets Modi during India visit

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull arrived in New Delhi on Sunday for a four-day visit to India, his first since assuming office in September 2015.

He was accorded a ceremonial welcome and guard of honour on Monday at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Turnbull was received by PM Narendra Modi, who are both expected to discuss key issues such as defence, security, energy and trade.

In context

Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull visits India

Slow pace

India-Australia ties growing at a slower pace under Turnbull

Turnbull's visit to India has been much delayed.

He spent his first year in office on improving relations in Australia's immediate neighbourhood, visiting Indonesia and China, a crucial trade partner.

By contrast, under Turnbull's predecessor Tony Abbott, India-Australia ties moved forward at a faster pace.

Abbott had visited India in September 2014 with Indian PM Narendra Modi reciprocating by visiting Australia two months later.


What's on the agenda?

According to India's External Affairs Ministry, both countries are expected to sign several MoUs across multiple sectors, including defence and security, environment, renewable energy, sports and trade.

Australia has invested $7 billion in India, which it wants to increase.

On education, Australia said it hopes to help India reach its goals of up-skilling 400 million people by 2022.

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Key free trade agreement won't be signed during Turnbull's visit


Key free trade agreement won't be signed during Turnbull's visit

However, the much anticipated Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) won't be signed during this trip.

Talks for the CECA were launched in 2011. Both sides expressed hope that the pact would be signed in 2015 during former Australian PM Tony Abbott's visit in 2014.

This deadline has been missed.

Sticking points in negotiations include India's high trade tariffs on dairy and agricultural products.


Uranium imports from Australia important for India

Australia is home to around 40% of the world's uranium reserves. It exports nearly 7,000 tons of yellow cake every year.

Uranium trade from Australia has been much delayed. A senior Indian official said the Australian parliament has passed legislation to allow uranium to be supplied to India. However, "commercial negotiations" for this are ongoing.

There are concerns over India's safety regulations.

Opposition to Adani's massive coal project in Queensland increases

Adani coal project

Opposition to Adani's massive coal project in Queensland increases

Turnbull's visit comes amid growing opposition to India's Adani Group's plans to invest $16.5 billion in a coalmine in Queensland making it Australia's largest coal project.

It would create 10,000 jobs in Queensland and help generate power for 100 million Indians.

However, it has caused protests over concerns that increased carbon pollution would threaten the Great Barrier Reef.

Adani coalmine faces delays, construction may start this year

Construction at the mine will begin this year after the federal and Queensland governments gave it a green light. Production at the mine could begin in 2020 but is facing delays prompting Adani to reduce underground capacity by 38%.

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