India trade deal on tech, cyber and SMEs


Denham Sadler
Senior Reporter

Australia has put pen to paper on a new deal with India that focuses on technology, cybersecurity and integrating SME supply chains.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison conducted a virtual leaders summit with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi on Thursday, with the pair signing a new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership covering science, technology and research collaboration and entrepreneurship, and pledging to integrate supply chains between local SMEs and startups.

The deal takes the two countries’ bilateral relations to a “new level”, with the foreign and defence ministers to meet at least every two years for bilateral talks.

Scott Morrison
Scott Morrison: Signing an Australia-India comprehensive strategic partnership

“The trade and investment flows between our countries are not where you and I would both like them to be, but they are growing and they can grow a lot faster,” Mr Morrison said.

“But I think the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership that we are forming will continue to build the trust because we want commercial and trading relationships that are built on trust,” he said.

The first facet of the new partnership focuses on enhancing science, technology and research collaboration, with an emphasis on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will share the benefits of scientific and medical research and development, strengthen healthcare systems, and reflect on the recommendations of the independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international health response to COVID-19 to improve capacity for global pandemic prevention, preparedness and response,” the agreement said.

Under the new agreement, the two countries will work together to “strengthen and diversify supply chains for critical health, technology and other goods and services.

“Both countries jointly decided to work together in the areas of digital economy, cybersecurity and critical and emerging technologies as identified by the Framework Arrangement on Cyber and Cyber-Enabled Critical Technology Cooperation”.

There will also be an implementation arrangement around cooperate in defence science and technology to the Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation, providing a framework for collaboration between defence science and technology research organisations in Australia and India.

They’ve also pledged to continue to foster collaboration between entrepreneurs in both countries that are “developing innovative products and promoting startups and incubation centres”.

They will also improve collaboration with small-to-medium businesses and work to integrate each others’ companies in the other’s supply chains.

“These are the substantial issues that good friends developed together that provide the opportunity for the many other commercial opportunities that come our way,” Mr Morrison said.

“In a time like this, we want to deal very much with friends and trusted partners and this is a partnership which has stood the test time and again and is during the course of this current crisis,” he said.

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