Growth With India Is ‘Enormous’: Australian Resources Minister

Growth With India Is ‘Enormous’: Australian Resources Minister

Australia’s supply of critical minerals to India will be a key aspect of realising the “enormous” potential of the trade relationship between the two nations.

Speaking from India, Resources Minister Madeleine King said the country of 1.4 billion people presented a “remarkable opportunity” for Australia, which could make use of its “natural endowment” to work with like-minded partners.

“The growth potential of our trade relationship with India is enormous,” she told Sky News on Sunday.

“India is a vast, vibrant democracy … so a natural fit when it comes to working together on the extraction and processing of critical minerals.”

Critical minerals, including lithium, will be vital to decarbonising economies and helping them meet ambitious climate targets.

Asked about the role of coal in India’s energy mix, King said Australia will continue to export it.

“I’ve been very consistent that each country has to choose its own pathway to net zero emissions,” she said.

“It would be wrong of us to deny countries like India, the energy sources they need to keep their people safe … to have the lifestyle we’re accustomed to.”

The minister formed part of a senior delegation to India which included Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Trade Minister Don Farrell and leaders in Australia’s mining and business sectors.

The move comes after Albanese revealed the two countries had finalised deals to boost economic and cultural ties at a joint address with Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

Significantly, Albanese said the nations agreed on an early conclusion to their Comprehensive Economic Co-operation Agreement, adding he was hopeful it would be wrapped up by the end of the year.

“This transformational deal will realise the full potential of the bilateral economic relationship, creating employment opportunities and raising living standards for the people of both Australia and India,” he said on March 10.

A limited free-trade agreement between the countries came into effect in January but has already borne fruit, with more than $2.5 billion (US$1.65 billion) worth of Australian produce hitting India.

The pair also announced an AustraliaIndia solar task force co-chaired by Australian professor Renate Egan, one tangible outcome from discussions of the need to address climate change.

The nations are also set to work more closely on supplying critical minerals as India seeks to meet ambitious goals of 50 per cent renewable energy and 30 per cent electric vehicle usage by 2030.

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