Australian ambassador to India Barry O’Farrell on Sunday said that the QUAD countries have accepted India’s stance on the Russian Ukraine war.
This critical statement comes ahead of the virtual bilateral summit between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison to be held on Monday.
“The Quad countries have accepted India's position. We understand that each country has a bilateral relationship and it is clear from the comments of the MEA and PM Modi himself that he has used his contacts to call for the end of the conflict and no country will be unhappy with that,” he told the reporters.
India has recently purchased Russian crude oil at discount prices, a move which has come under severe criticism from the western press.
The High commissioner acknowledged that the Indian PM has called for an end to the conflict which has not made anyone “unhappy”.
Ahead of the virtual summit, Australian PM Scott Morrison on Friday said that the Indo-Australian bilateral relationship is based on “mutual understanding” as well as commitment to democracy and “as shared vision of an open, inclusive, resilient and prosperous Indo-Pacific”.
India’s abstention at the UN on the Russian-Ukrainian crisis is seen as an extension of the “no-condemnation” policy which was initiated by the country’s first PM Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru as well as its commitment to dialogue and engagement between warring parties.
It is expected that India and Australia will conclude an interim trade deal on goods and services worth INR 1500 crore at the virtual summit on Monday.
This includes cooperation in clean energy and critical minerals as well as cooperation in the space sectors.
The critical minerals include Lithium which Australia accounts for 55 percent of global productions and boasts 20 percent of global mineral deposits.
The two countries had set a target to conclude a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement (CECA) by the end of 2022.
The trade deal is seen as a policy to reduce import dependency from China as Beijing is both Canberra’s and New Delhi’s largest trading partner.
Trade between India and Australia has already surpassed the pre-pandemic levels and is just below USD20 billion for 2021-22.