Former Australian PM Tony Abbott undertaking 5-day visit to India

NEW DELHI: Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is undertaking a five-day visit to India from Monday to boost bilateral trade relations and hold talks with Indian leaders on the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA).

Abbott is visiting India in his capacity as the Australian Prime Minister’s Special Trade Envoy for India.

“Abbott is in India from August 2 to 6, and looks forward to meeting with Indian ministers, businesspeople and think tanks to energise the bilateral economic relationship,” Australian High Commissioner Barry O’Farrell AO said.

“In particular, Abbott looks forward to discussions on the India-Australia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, which will propel our economic relationship to its full potential, to the mutual benefit of the Indian and Australian people,” he added.

The High Commissioner said that Australia is keen to deepen its trade and investment links with India and take the economic relationship to the “next level”.

“Increasing bilateral trade and investment will help drive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and build secure and resilient supply chains,” he said.

He also said that the Australia-India bilateral relationship is at a “historic high”.

“In 2020, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Morrison elevated our relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

We also committed to strengthening our economic relationship,” he said.

In June last year, India and Australia elevated their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed a landmark deal for reciprocal access to military bases for logistics support during an online summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

The Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) allows militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

The Australian Navy was part of the Malabar naval exercise hosted by India in November last.

The navies of the US and Japan were also part of it.