Narendra Modi, Australia PM Turnbull take metro ride to Akshardham temple


India and Australia on Monday agreed to boost counter-terrorism and defence cooperation, even as they called for a rule-based order in the Indo-Pacific amid China's aggressive posturing in and around the South China Sea.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's maiden visit to India is focused on re-energising the bilateral relationship between the two countries.

Addressing the media jointly with Turnbull after the talks, Modi said that cooperation in the fields of education and research was "one of the most important aspects" of India-Australia ties.

Prime Minister Turnbull emphasised the role Australia's industry-led vocational education and training system, qualifications and training providers could play in India's program to train 400 million people by 2022.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull touted Australia's "pragmatic" approach to "affordable energy" in his visit to India on Monday, April 10.

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He also called for working closely with members of the East Asia Summit and the Indian Ocean rim countries to pursue common interests.

"I am confident that, thanks to the positive discussions had in India, it won't be too long until we see Australian universities and training providers complement their significant numbers of Indian students studying in Australia with a significant presence in India, too", he said.

Two-way trade between the countries is now worth $19 billion, which both sides agree is a fraction of its potential.

In the backdrop of Pakistan, China and Russian Federation deciding to hold a tri-lateral on Afghanistan while keeping New Delhi and Kabul off the table, the joint statement emphasised on early peace and reconciliation in the war-torn country through "Afghan-owned and Afghan-led process". Further, both the Prime Ministers also underscored Australia and India's joint commitment to enhancing regional cooperation in promoting maritime security and safety.

In this regard, the two Prime Ministers also welcomed the signing of an MoU on fighting worldwide terrorism and transnational organised crime. Modi has promised to provide power to the entire country by 2019 and needs uranium imports to fuel India's nuclear power plants. Australia's Education Minister, Senator Simon Birmingham, and Vice Chancellors from the Group of Eight, Australia's highest ranked universities, accompanied the Aussie prime minister in his visit to India. Trilateral cooperation among Australia, Japan and India is welcome.