The 6th India-Australia Joint Working Group Meeting on Water Cooperation occurred on November 8, 2023, between the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti and Australia's Department of Climate Change, Energy, and Water.
- Mr. Anand Mohan, Joint Secretary from the Ministry of Jal Shakti, led the Indian delegation. Mr. Matthew Dadswell, Head of Water Policy Division at Australia's DCCEEW, led the Australian team.
Highlights of the 6th India-Australia Joint Working Group:
- A successful meeting was held between the representatives of the two countries on enhancing cooperation in the water sector and charting the way forward for further proposed activities.
- In the inaugural address, the Co-Chairs of the two countries drew on the rich history of India-Australia cooperation in the water sector and looked forward to furthering cooperation through active participation in various technical and policy activities aimed at addressing challenges in the sector.
- Additionally, both India and Australia expressed satisfaction at the progress of the implementation plan, including technical exchanges and execution of demonstration projects for institutional capacity building to address water sector challenges.
- Both sides made presentations on various ongoing activities (Tier-1) and proposed activities (Tier-2). Mainly among these:
- Integration of MyWell App with National Water Information Centre,
- Australia-India Water Security Initiative (AYASI),
- India Youth Water Vocational Programme, Water Accounting in Practice and Application,
- Basin Planning Co-Design Workshop,
- Aquawatch Australia,
- Village Ground Water Cooperative Societies and
- Includes remediation of inland salinity.
India-Australia action plan finalized:
- Following presentations and discussions, the India-Australia Action Plan for 2024-25, encompassing Tier-1, Tier-2, and Tier-3 activities, was concluded. Both sides agreed to this.
Background of the News:
- India and Australia signed a MoU on November 10, 2009. This agreement was renewed on September 5, 2014.
- Following the renewal, a new MoU was signed between the Government of India and the Government of Australia on May 20, 2020 for cooperation in the field of water resources management for a period of five years.
- In modern times, the two countries established diplomatic relations even before independence, when the Consulate General of India was first opened as a trade office in Sydney in 1941.
- But relations between the two countries reached a low point when Australia condemned India's nuclear tests in 1998.
- In 2014, Australia signed a uranium supply agreement with India, the first of its kind with a non-signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, in recognition of India's 'impeccable' non-proliferation record.
Similarities between the two countries:
- Pluralistic culture, shared values of Westminster-style democracies, Commonwealth traditions, expansion of economic ties and increased high-level dialogue have strengthened India-Australia bilateral relations.
What factor brings the two countries closer?
- The common characteristics, including a strong, vibrant, secular and multicultural democracy, a free press, an independent judicial system and the English language, serve as the foundation for close cooperation between the two countries.
- India is one of the top countries from which talented immigrants come to Australia. According to the 2021 census, about 9.76 lakh Australians claimed to be of Indian origin.
Defense cooperation between India and Australia:
- 2+2 ministerial dialogue started in September 2021 in the field of defense cooperation between the two countries.
- In this sequence, the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister of Australia visited India in June 2022.
- A Mutual Logistics Support Agreement was signed during the virtual summit in June 2020 to enhance defense cooperation between the two countries.
- Last month in August 2023, Australia hosted ‘Malabar Exercise’ with the participation of India, Japan and the US.
- In the same sequence, India also participated in the ‘Talisman Saber Exercise’ organized by Australia in July 2023.