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Agreement  on mutual recognition of qualifications

Context:

India and Australia signed a framework mechanism for mutual recognition of qualifications that will help in easing the mobility of students and professionals between the two countries.

Relevance:

GS Paper – 2 International Treaties & Agreements, Government Policies & Interventions, Groupings & Agreements Involving India and/or Affecting India’s Interests

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key points
  2. The significance of India to Australia
  3. Relationship Overview
  4. Prior collaboration agreements
  5. Collaboration in multilateral fora

Key points:

  • The agreement that provide mechanism to mutually recognise qualifications was signed following a bilateral meeting between India’s Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his Australian counterpart.
  • The Australian government will be contributing 1.89 million dollars for running a skill programme in India in the area of agriculture which is a critical sector for India. 
  • Both countries reiterated that this partnership is a two-way street for students from both countries to immigrate and pursue the courses of their choice.

The significance of India to Australia

  • Australia wants to diversify its supply chains for critical minerals and find alternative markets to China.
  • Australia also has reserves of approximately 21 of the 49 minerals listed in India’s critical minerals strategy. It is well positioned to serve India’s national interests in carbon reduction.

Relationship Overview

  • Mutual interests: Aside from being two English-speaking, multicultural, federal democracies that believe in and respect the rule of law, both have a strategic interest in maintaining balance in the Indo-Pacific and ensuring that no single hegemonic power dominates the region.
  • Furthermore, Indians are now the largest source of skilled migrants in Australia, and the already robust economic relationship could be transformed if the promise of the new Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) is realised.
  • Disagreements: The Cold War’s long shadow, India’s independent economic policies, the White Australia policy, Canberra’s decision not to transfer uranium to India, and other factors had kept the two countries apart for decades.
  • White Australia policy: The Act empowered immigration officers to force any non-European migrant to take a 50-word dictation test. Beginning in 1901, it was intended to prohibit people of non-European ethnic origin, particularly Asians, from immigrating to Australia.

Prior collaboration agreements

  • Economic Cooperation And Trade Agreement: In 2022, India and Australia signed a historic interim Economic Cooperation And Trade Agreement (INDAUS ECTA) that will provide zero-duty access to 96% of India’s exports to Australia and approximately 85% of Australia’s exports to India.
  • India will benefit from Australia’s preferential market access on 100% of its tariff lines.
  • India will grant Australia preferential access to over 70% of its tariff lines.
  • Trade and Investment: Australia is India’s eighth largest trading partner, and India is Australia’s fifth.
  • Strategic Dialogue: In June 2020, Australia and India agreed to elevate their Secretaries 2+2 dialogue (Defense and Foreign Affairs) to the Ministerial level and form a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Mutual Logistic Support Agreement (MLSA): Australia and India signed the MLSA in 2020, allowing for more sophisticated operational cooperation, more complex military engagement, and greater combined response to regional humanitarian disasters.
  • Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement (DSTIA): This arrangement facilitates interaction among our defence research organisations.

Collaboration in multilateral fora

  • Australia backs India’s bid for a seat on an expanded United Nations Security Council.
  • India and Australia are both members of the G-20, the Commonwealth, the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC), the ASEAN Regional Forum, the Asia Pacific Partnership on Climate and Clean Development, and have attended East Asia Summits.
  • Both countries have also been cooperating as members of the WTO’s Five Interested Parties (FIP).
  • The Five Interested Parties were a group of countries chosen to break the initial deadlocks, consisting of key political and economic players in the world of trade, namely the United States, European Union, Australia, Brazil, and India
  • Australia is a key member of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and supports India’s membership in the organisation.
  • Australia joined SAARC as an observer in 2008.
  • Australia took part in the MALABAR naval exercise in October 2020, joining India, the US, and Japan in demonstrating a shared commitment to an open and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

-Source: The Hindu


March 2023
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