Strengthening Economic Cooperation: India and Australia Forge New Migration Deal

Enhancing Bilateral Ties and Regional Security Amidst Rising Tensions

In a significant development aimed at bolstering their economic collaboration, India and Australia have recently announced a migration deal following a meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese, in Sydney. The accord seeks to facilitate the two-way mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers, and business people, fostering greater engagement and exchange between the two nations.

The discussions held during the meeting also centred around regional security concerns in light of escalating tensions in the area. Both India and Australia are members of the Quad group, a strategic alliance that includes Japan and the United States. However, a planned Quad meeting in Sydney was regrettably cancelled last week when US President Joe Biden was required to return to Washington for debt ceiling negotiations.

Undeterred, Prime Minister Modi proceeded with his visit to Sydney as planned, following his attendance at the G7 summit in Japan and his trip to Papua New Guinea. This visit marks Mr. Modi's first to Australia since 2014, and it comes two months after Mr. Albanese's visit to India in March, underscoring the commitment to strengthening ties between the two countries.

The negotiations for the migration agreement had been underway for a couple of years, considering Australia's existing significant Indian diaspora. Census data reveals that nearly a quarter of over a million people who migrated to Australia since 2016 hailed from India. The finalised migration agreement also paves the way for the establishment of a specialised program called MATES (Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme) designed exclusively for Indian nationals.

During the meeting, discussions also revolved around increasing cooperation in the mining and critical minerals sectors. Both nations made progress in setting up an Australia-India Green Hydrogen Taskforce and explored avenues for a comprehensive economic cooperation deal, which has been under negotiation for over a decade.

A high point of the visit was the rally attended by thousands from the Indian diaspora in one of Sydney's largest indoor stadiums. Reflecting the warmth and enthusiasm of the crowd, Mr. Albanese commented, "The last time I saw someone on this stage was Bruce Springsteen, and he did not get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got." In his address, Prime Minister Modi hailed the Indian community in Australia as a "living bridge" between the two nations, emphasising the relationship's foundation on mutual trust and respect.

The migration deal between India and Australia signifies a significant milestone in their bilateral relationship, fostering greater people-to-people connections and promoting collaborative opportunities in education, research, and business. With a shared vision of strengthening economic ties and addressing regional security challenges, the partnership between these two nations is poised to reach new heights of cooperation and mutual benefit.


"The relationship between India and Australia is based on mutual trust and respect." - Prime Minister Narendra Modi