Joint press statement from Parliament House Canberra

modi abbott









It’s a real honour for me to have Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India with me today in our national Parliament.

I was lucky enough to be the first international leader to visit India in Mr Modi’s prime ministership. That was a particularly warm visit. I was very grateful for the hospitality that I received. I was very pleased with the relationship that we struck up and I’m delighted that Narendra has chosen to come to Australia not just for the G20 but for this important bilateral visit as well.

India, as we know, is one of the world’s emerging super powers. India, I often say, is the emerging democratic super power of Asia.

We in Australia tend to associate India with cricket and with sport. That’s important, but we can never forget that India is an intellectual powerhouse, a potential economic powerhouse. IT, science, medicine, research; these are all great strengths of India’s and they can be great strengths for Australia as well if our relationship develops as it should.

The trade relationship is underdeveloped and Prime Minister Modi and I have spent quite some time this morning talking about what we need to do to really crank up the trade relationship.

Yes, Australia has recently signed and recently negotiated free-trade agreements with Korea, Japan and now China, but we’re not resting on our laurels. We’re not satisfied with just that. We want to go further and that’s why the next priority for Australia is a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with India.

If I may say so, this is a moment in time. This is the time to get this done. This is the time to turn the warm friendship between Australia and India, the long history that Australia and India have together, into something that will be meaningful, more meaningful for us and significant for the wider world and I think this Australian Government has the runs on the board when it comes to free trade. I know Prime Minister Modi has the runs on the board when it comes to getting the officialdom of India to actually respond to government, to making the Indian bureaucracy work for the people and the nation of India.

This is our moment, Narendra, and I am determined to absolutely make the most of it.

We didn’t just discuss trade; we discussed energy security and Australia’s readiness and willingness to supply uranium to India for peaceful purposes.

We also talked about global security issues and India and Australia’s increasing cooperation in counter-terrorism, in intelligence and in military cooperation. There’s an enthusiasm on both our parts for more bilateral and trilateral military exercises and we hope to see much more of that in the years ahead.

But most of all, I want to come back to the economic potential of our two countries; the potential of our partnership together.

We all know that trade means jobs. Trade means jobs, trade means prosperity.

We both need more jobs and more prosperity and that’s what this particular visit is all about: more trade, more jobs, more prosperity for our two countries.

And again, Narendra, thank you so much for being here. I really do welcome you to our country.




Prime Minister Tony Abbot, friends from the media. I thank Prime Minister Abbott, the people and the federal and the state governments of Australia for a wonderful visit so far.

Prime Minister Abbott and I have spent the last week together; at the East Asia summit, the G20 and for this bilateral summit. This reflects the broad framework of our relationship defined by our growing partnership in the cause of a peaceful and prosperous world and a strong and broad-based bilateral relationship.

This is a natural partnership emerging from our shared values and interests and strategic maritime locations. India and Australia have a great economic synergy. There are huge opportunities for a partnership in every area we can think of; agriculture, agroprocessing, resources, energy, finance, infrastructure, education and science and technology.

The economic climate in India has changed. I believe it will be a lot easier to convert opportunities into concrete outcomes. Prime Minister Abbott and I discussed what we should do to impart real momentum into our economic partnership. Reconstituting the CEO forum is an important step. We have agreed to split up negotiations under a comprehensive economic partnership agreement.

I also asked for easier access for Indian business to the Australian market and quicker investment approvals. India will a hold a Made in India show in Australia in 2015. Australia will also be holding Business Week in India in January 2015. We also agreed on seeking early closure on the civil nuclear agreement which will give Australia a chance to participate in one of the most secure and safe nuclear energy programmes in the world.

Cricket and hockey are a natural glue between our people. I know yoga is enormously popular here. We need to connect our people more. I am pleased with the new cultural exchange programme signed today. India will open a cultural centre in Sydney by February 2015. We plan to hold a festival of India in Australia in 2015 and tourism weeks in Australia.

The social security agreement is a really positive development. It will help in making our business relations stronger, especially in the services sector. I greatly welcome the new framework for security cooperation. Security and defence are important and growing areas of the new India/Australia partnership for advancing regional peace and stability and combating terrorism and transnational crimes. This morning, the visit with Prime Minister Abbott to the Australian War Memorial reminded us of the need to strive together for a better world.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it has been nearly three decades since the last Prime Minister visited from India. The fact that we have exchanged visits in two months it’s a sign of better times to come. I’m deeply honoured by the opportunity to speak to the Parliament after this and look forward to spending the evening at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with Prime Minister Abbott.

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