What has happened?
- Australian special envoy and former prime minister Tony Abbott said a free-trade agreement between his nation and India would signal the “democratic world’s tilt away from China”.
- Abbott visited New Delhi last week as Australia’s special trade envoy for India as the Australian government has prioritized the sealing of a bilateral trade deal.
- On Monday, in an opinion piece likely to anger Beijing, Abbott said the “answer to almost every question about China is India”.
- “With the world’s other emerging superpower becoming more belligerent almost by the day, it’s in everyone’s interests that India take its rightful place among the nations as quickly as possible,” Abbott wrote in his column run by The Australiannewspaper.
- “Because trade deals are about politics as much as economics, a swift deal between India and Australia would be an important sign of the democratic world’s tilt away from China, as well as boosting the long-term prosperity of both our countries,” He added.
China- Australia deal
- Abbott was prime minister when China and Australia finalised a bilateral free-trade deal that took effect in 2015.
- He also hosted a state visit by President Xi Jinping a year earlier.
- Relations have since soured over various issues,
- Including Australia banning Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from major communications infrastructure projects,
- Outlawing covert foreign interference in Australian politics, and calling for an independent investigation into the origin of the coronavirus.
- Abbott also accused Beijing of “capricious boycotts” of Australian exports – including coal, barley, wine and seafood – that had demonstrated China’s use of trade as a “strategic weapon”.
- “The basic problem is that China’s daunting power is a consequence of the free world’s decision to invite a communist dictatorship into global trading networks,” Abbott said.
- “China has exploited the West’s goodwill and wishful thinking to steal our technology and undercut our industries; and, in the process, become a much more powerful competitor than the old Soviet Union ever was,
- Because it’s now a first-rate economy that’s rapidly developing a military to match; and spoiling for a fight over Taiwan, a pluralist democracy of 25 million that’s living proof there’s no totalitarian gene in the Chinese DNA,” Abbott added.
Dependency on China
- “The (covid-19) pandemic has put up in flashing neon lights the extent to which the world has become dependent on Chinese imports,
- Including in critical supply chains, that can be turned on and off like a tap,” Abbott noted.
India-Australia trade deal
- Negotiations between India and Australia on a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement began in 2011 but were suspended in 2015.
- India is particularly concerned about freer trade in Australian farm exports.
- New Delhi’s demands for less-restrictive visas for Indian workers is a major sticking point for Australia.
- Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi last year upgraded the bilateral relationship with a draft of agreements that strengthened defence ties and committed both nations to expanding trade.
- Abbott visited India last week to “propel our economic relationship to its full potential, to the mutual benefit of the Indian and Australian people”,
- Australia’s high commissioner to India, Barry O’Farrell, said in a statement.
How Australia can help India?
- “Australia could readily replace China as a key source of the rare earths and other strategic minerals that India will need,
- Under PM (Narendra) Modi’s ‘Make in India’ program, if it’s to replace China as a source of manufactured inputs at scale,“ He wrote.
- “With a spectacular infrastructure program now under way, as well as sweeping privatisation,
- India should be a place for Australian investment funds to secure long-term stable returns,” Abbott said.
- India, Abbott pointed out, is Australia’s seventh-biggest trade partner with an annual trade turnover of about $30 billion and
- Said that despite being hampered by tariffs and mutual perceptions that neither country is always a good place to do business.
- “India and Australia are like-minded democracies whose relationship had been under-developed, at least until Narendra Modi became India’s Prime Minister.
- Under Modi, India has revived the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, and the first in-person Quad summit is expected before the end of the year,” he said.
- “Under Modi, India has invited Australia to join the annual Malabar naval exercises that will soon involve India, the United States, Japan, Australia and also the United Kingdom’s visiting carrier strike group led by the Royal Navy’s new flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth.
- It will be an impressive show of strength, demonstrating the democracies’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he added.
Q) The genesis of the European Union is in the?
- Treaty of Maastricht
- Coal & Steel treay
- Treaty of Rome
- Schengen Agreement