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India and Australia on Saturday (2 April) signed an interim free trade agreement to boost bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (IndAus ECTA) was signed by Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and Australian Minister for Trade Dan Tehan in a virtual ceremony in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian PM Scott Morrison.

Speaking on the occasion, PM Modi said that signing of the agreement is "truly a watershed moment" for India-Australia bilateral relations.

"There is immense potential for our economies to fulfil each others' needs. I am confident that this agreement will enable us to benefit from these opportunities," he added.

"On the basis of this agreement, we will together be able to contribute to increasing the resilience of the supply chains and to the stability of the Indo-Pacific region," PM Modi said.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said that the signing of the agreement is a milestone in India-Australia economic relationship.

Morrison said that the agreement will facilitate cheaper Australian goods to India.

"It [IndAus ECTA] will unlock deeper cooperation in critical minerals, rare earths, which are now an area of increasing importance to India's growing manufacturing sector," he added.

The Australian PM further said that the agreement will further deepen "the warm and close ties between our people by delivering increased work, study and travel opportunities".

The IndAus ECTA, encompassing trade in goods and services will further cement the already deep, close and strategic relations between the two countries and will significantly enhance the bilateral trade in goods and services, create new employment opportunities, raise living standards and improve the general welfare of the peoples of the two countries, the Commerce Ministry had said in a release on Friday (1 April).