India and Australia on 18 November 2014 signed five pacts on social security, transfer of sentenced prisoners, combating narcotics trade, tourism, and Arts and Culture.
Highlights of the agreements
The Social Security Agreement will help in making the business relations stronger, especially in the Services Sector. It will provide for social security and superannuation benefits for those who have been residents of the other country on basis of equality of benefit, export of benefits and avoidance of double coverage. It will lead to greater economies and promote the flow of professionals.
Agreement concerning Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners: It will facilitate, regulate and lay down procedures for the transfer of sentenced persons and enable rehabilitation and reintegration of sentenced persons into society.
MoU on Combating Narcotics Trafficking and Developing Police Cooperation: It places priority on tackling illicit trade, diversion of precursors, asset forfeiture and drug money laundering. It will help develop strategies and procedures for operations to disrupt and dismantle transnational narcotic related threats.
MoU on Cooperation in the Field of Arts and Culture: It will promote cooperation through exchange of information, professional expertise, training and exhibitions in the field of culture. It will deepen understanding between the people, institutions and art genres and promote sound and sustainable artistic and cultural activities.
MoU in the Field of Tourism: It will encourage cooperation in tourism policy, information exchange, interaction between tourism stakeholders, training and investments in hospitality sector and promote the importance of the tourism sector in economic development and employment generation.
Early closure of the Civil Nuclear Agreement
Moreover, India and Australia agreed on early closure of the civil nuclear agreement which will give Australia a chance to participate in one of the most secure and safe nuclear energy programme in the world.
By concluding the civil nuclear pact, uranium trade will be facilitated between the two countries. Australia has about 40 percent of the world's uranium reserves and exports nearly 7000 tonnes of uranium annually.
India and Australia had commenced negotiations for the sale of uranium in early 2012. The two-way trade stands at 15 billion US dollars a year.
Other Decisions taken by the two countries
• Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Indian Counterpart Narendra Modi agreed to have a Free Trade deal by 2015 end.
• India will organise a Make in India show in Australia in 2015 while Australia would hold a business week in India in January 2015.
• The countries too agreed to speed up negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement.
• India and Australia also agreed on a Framework for Security Cooperation. Security and defence are important and growing areas of the new India-Australia partnership for advancing regional peace and stability, and combating terrorism and trans-national crimes.
• India and Australia signed the new Cultural Exchange Programme where India will establish a Cultural Centre in Sydney by February 2015. India will hold a Festival of India in Australia in 2015 and tourism weeks in Australia.
• Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holders need not present themselves at police stations while visiting India from now onwards. The people who have a Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) card will now get a lifetime visa to India.
Who: India and Australia
When: 18 November 2014
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