Australia`s economic commitment – and potential vulnerability – to China requires Australia to diversify its economic risks. In addition to the ECSC, Australia and India are participating in negotiations on the Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership – a proposed ASEAN-centric free trade area that would initially include the ten ASEAN member states and countries with free trade agreements with ASEAN. In the last round of negotiations, Australia`s agricultural exports were seen as a sensitive issue between the two countries, with democratic calculations by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) playing an important role in preventing agreements. More than half of India`s jobs are related to agriculture, and although the sector is highly inefficient, both in production and distribution – leading to frequent price spikes such as those that have hit the onions recently – no political party has the will to open up the sector to increased competition or even reform, even if the long-term benefits were considerable. This political reality indicates that Australia is unlikely to achieve favourable status for its agricultural products when negotiations resume. The release of India`s economic strategy in 2035 by the Australian government last year is an attempt to seize these opportunities. The strategy aims to make India one of Australia`s top three export markets, make India Asia`s third target for Australian foreign investment, and introduce India into Australia`s internal strategic partnership circle. The strategy is based on 10 sectors and 10 states, where the Australian economy is expected to focus. The Indian diaspora in Australia should play an important role in establishing these economic ties; Underlines the importance of the largely prosperous Indian population of 700,000 Indian roots in Australia. After Australian Trade Minister Simon Birmingham`s visit to New Delhi last month, when he discussed the benefits of such a pact with his Indian counterpart Piyush Goyal, India is exploring viable elements of a possible free trade agreement with Australia. India and Australia negotiated in May 2011, but discussions were suspended in 2015 due to differences of opinion on issues such as Australia`s requested access to the agriculture and dairy market.
India and Australia have decided to bring their relationship to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership with nine major agreements, including deepening trade, diversifying energy cooperation in areas such as hydrogen and coal gasification, and enhancing the possibility of commercializing the RuPay card in Australia. After eight years of negotiations, Canberra and New Delhi have been unable to clarify the details of a free trade agreement.