On 5 September 2014, during the visit of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abott, India and Australia inked the long-awaited civil nuclear agreement that will allow Australia to export uranium to India. The nuclear pact, under discussion since 2012, was signed after conclusion of delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott, who was the first dignitary to visit India on a bilateral engagement after the new government took over.
A change of policy by Australia, which holds one-third of the world’s recoverable uranium, facilitated the pact as Canberra did not supply the fuel to countries not signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
The MoU on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy will promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and recognise India’s commitment and use of nuclear energy with a view to achieving sustainable development and strengthening energy security, an official statement said.
The two sides also inked a MoU on Cooperation in Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), which is aimed to promote exchange of information and policy ideas in TVET systems, joint implementation of collaborative projects and facilitating links between governments, industry organisations and TVET bodies.
Another MoU on cooperation in sport was signed, which is aimed to promote exchange of programmes, experience, skills, techniques and knowledge in the field of sports. It will facilitate exchanges of sports personnel, coaches and officials as well as of training and technologies. It will also develop preparation for competitions and broad cooperation in sports.
MOU on cooperation in the field of water resources management will promote sharing of policy and technical experiences in water resources, particularly river basin management. It will encourage familiarisation of best practices and technologies developed by each side and for exchange of information and training. A Joint Working Group will coordinate the activities.
India and Australia also decided to hold their first-ever bilateral naval exercise in 2015. India has held trilateral naval exercises with Australia and Japan in 2007 and early 2014.
On the economic front, both PMs welcomed the progress towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, with Abbott stating that Australia hopes to conclude negotiations and have it ready by the end of 2015.