Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls for early conclusion of CECA with Australia


New Delhi: Noting the rapid progress made in the bilateral ties with Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for early closure of the ‘Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)’ for the economic security of the two countries.

Delivering his opening remarks at the second India-Australia Virtual Summit, PM Modi said, “Our (India-Australia) collaboration has grown rapidly in areas such as critical minerals, water management, renewable energy, and Covid-19 research.”

During his address, the Prime Minister underscored that India and Australia have made remarkable progress in their ties in the last few years. “Trade and investment, defence and security, education and innovation, science and technology – we have very close cooperation in all these areas,” he added.

This virtual meeting comes as the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has maintained the momentum of an upward trajectory with both countries continuing to collaborate closely, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Prime Minister stressed that the “early closure of CECA will be important” for economic ties, economic revival and economic security of the two countries. “We have good cooperation going on in Quad also. This collaboration of ours reflects our commitment to free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific,” he said.

In his opening remarks, PM Modi also thanked his Australian counterpart for the initiative to return 29 Indian antiquities.

“I would like to especially thank you for taking the initiative to return ancient Indian artefacts. Among them are hundreds of years old idols and pictures illegally removed from Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh along with many other Indian states,” he said.

During the summit, the two leaders are expected to lay the way for new initiatives and enhance cooperation in a diverse range of sectors between the two countries.

The Summit follows the historic first Virtual Summit in June 2020 when the relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. During the upcoming virtual summit, the leaders are expected to take stock of progress made on various initiatives under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. (ANI)


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