Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will deepen technology and renewable energy partnerships with his Indian counterpart later this week, as the deadline for the latest round of a long-standing bilateral grants program nears.
At the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr Albanese will travel to India on Wednesday for the Australia-India Annual Leaders’ Summit, making him the first Australian Prime Minister to do so since Malcolm Turnbull in 2017.
The three-day trip, which will include span Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi, will see the two leaders discuss trade and investment, renewable energy, technology, defence and security cooperation.
The Prime Minister will be joined by Trade and Tourism minister Don Farrell, Resources minister Madeleine King, and a delegation of senior Australian business leaders.
The latter will participate in the Australia-India CEO Forum and will discuss opportunities from the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement, which came into force at the end of 2022.
Mr Albanese said he looks forward to strengthening the relationship between Australia and India.
“Our relationship with India is strong but it can be stronger. It is underpinned by our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which underscores a joint commitment to working together to enhance our defence, economic, and technological interests,” Mr Albanese said.
“A stronger India-Australia partnership is good for the stability of our region. It also means more opportunities and more trade and investment, strengthening our economies and directly benefiting our people.
“As we look to the future, India will continue to be an important partner and close friend to Australia. I look forward to hosting Prime Minister Modi in Australia mid-year for the Quad Leaders’ Summit and to visiting India again in September for the G20 Leaders’ Summit.”
Last week, Education minister Jason Clare and Home Affairs minister Clare O’Neil visited India. During that trip, Minister Clare signed an agreement to ensure Australian university qualifications obtained by Indian students are recognised by higher education institutions in India.
Foreign minister Penny Wong was also in India last week to attend the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
Shadow Minister for the Government Services and the Digital Economy Paul Fletcher last week urged the Prime Minister to “bring back more than good intentions from his India visit” with regards to supporting digital technology.
As the Prime Minister prepares for his trip, the Department of Industry, Science and Resources is preparing to close round 15 of the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
The fund, which was established in 2006, offers researchers grants of up to $1 million across five priority areas, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, renewable energy technologies, electronic waste recycling and RNA vaccines.
A total of $6 million is available through this round with the outcomes jointly decided with the Indian government. Australian applicants must be partnered with an Indian counterpart.
In February 2022, Australia signed a letter of intent with India to increase research and development collaboration on new ultra-low-cost solar and clean hydrogen.
The previous federal government set aside $565.8 million for bilateral low emissions technology partnerships, which were signed with several countries.
The Albanese government redirected the remaining uncommitted $45.8 million of this funding to support broader international engagement on climate change and energy transformation issues, including for attendance at the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP) climate change conference in November 2022.
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