The Australia-India economic relationship: New strategies, new objectives

By Sonia Arakkal

In December 2020, India launched its much-awaited Australia Economic Strategy (AES) report, authored by Anil Wadhwa, former secretary (East) of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). The AES is the only strategy report ever produced by the Indian government for a specific country, and it reciprocates Australia’s India Economic Strategy to 2035 (IES) report of 2018, authored by Peter Varghese AO, the former head of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Together, these strategies create a blueprint for the future of economic engagement between India and Australia. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, US-China competition in the Indo-Pacific, and over-optimism about the prospect for reform has changed the strategic context since the release of the strategies. Given this changed context, this report by Perth USAsia Centre Policy Fellow, Sonia Arakkal, explores the need for the strategies in the reports to be prioritised differently. How Australia and India now exploit the union between their strategies will be crucial in shaping the next phase of their economic partnership.

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