PRIME Minister Malcom Turnbull has begun the first day of his visit to India with a formal welcome by Prime Minister Modi on the parade ground of the Presidential Palace and a wreath laying ceremony at the site of the cremation of Mahatma Gandhi.
Mr Turnbull was this morning greeted by Mr Modi on the parade ground at Rashtrapati Bhavan, once the home to the British Viceroy, now the official home of the President of India.
Mr Turnbull walked to a dais where he stood and listened to the national anthems of India and Australia played by a military band.
He then inspected assembled personnel from India’s army, navy and airforce in silence before departing to Raj Ghat, the site of Mahatma Gandhi’s cremation, where he was to lay a wreath to honour the assassinated leader of India’s independence movement.
The two leaders will also discuss ways to engage Australia and India’s security ties and enhancing border security.
Education Minister Simon Birmingham is also in India heading a delegation of vice-chancellors and other Australian education bigwigs.
Mr Turnbull hopes a day of one-on-one time with the leader of the world’s fastest-growing economy will take Australia’s relationship with India to the next level.
He met Mr Modi on the sidelines of the 2015 and 2016 G20 summits and now they’ll get some serious face time.
Talks between the two leaders are expected to encompass the political relationship, trade, strategic ties, international security issues, science and innovation, and energy.
India is Australia’s fifth largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth $19 billion in 2015-16, but there is significant scope to expand.
However, it’s unlikely a bilateral trade deal will be sealed during Mr Turnbull’s visit as talks have largely stalled since mid-2016 with the government saying it’s now doing a stocktake.
A major sticking point for the Indians is labour mobility.
They’d like to see Australia ease restrictions on foreign workers, particularly in IT services, in exchange for opening up agricultural markets.
But more than goods, India wants “Australian brains” exported to it — technology, ways to boost agricultural productivity, logistics management, and education services.
Australia views India’s growing economic clout — it’s on track to be the world’s third largest economy by 2030 — as also translating into a bigger strategic reach.
Fairfax Media today reports that former Foreign Affairs and Trade head Peter Varghese will conduct an inquiry into the economic potential of engaging with India.
Mr Turnbull was all praise for his Indian counterpart and the “giant, vibrant democracy” as he departed Papua New Guinea yesterday.
“What a remarkable story India presents,” Mr Turnbull said.
“This is one of the great achievements of our times.”
Mr Turnbull said Mr Modi was determined to supercharge India’s growth into the 21st century.
India used to lament its low rate of growth compared to China, but thanks to the enterprise and energy of its people that’s no longer the case.
“India is showing it can grow at a rapid rate and that is offering enormous opportunities for Australia,” he said.
Mr Turnbull told reporters in PNG he and Mr Modi will be talking about the importance of energy exports to India.
Australian coal has a very big role to play in India’s plan to expand power across the country, he said.
Online Source: The NEWS