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India - Politics & International Relations overview

Country profile

Policies and initiatives

Governance structure

India is a vibrant Republic, with a multiparty parliamentary democracy. It has a quasi-federal structure, where the Union, States, and Local Bodies have their independent roles and responsibilities guaranteed by the Constitution. India’s Election Commission is also a constitutional body charged with wide-ranging powers to ensure free and fair elections. All three of the aforementioned tiers of Government are elected. At the Union level, India has a bicameral Parliament comprised of a lower house which is directly elected (Lok Sabha - the People’s House), and a permanent upper house which is indirectly elected (Rajya Sabha- the States’ House). The Finance Commission, another Constitutional Body, decides upon the division of taxes in the divisible pool between the three tiers of Government; successive commissions have decentralised finances steadily, with the share of funds going to the States increasing. India’s nodal agency for its international relations is the Ministry of External Affairs, which houses India’s diplomatic corps. There also exist government-funded Specialised Councils - the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations, and the Indian Council of World Affairs. The Indian Council of Social Science Research is the country’s premier body for funding and promoting research in the field of social sciences. In addition, there are a number of independent think tanks in the country that undertake research in international relations.

Professor Robin Jeffrey, LaTrobe University, Australian National University and National University of Singapore. Professor Jeffrey has been a key advocate for the study of India in Australian universities for several decades.

Australia - Politics & International Relations overview

Country profile

  • Global Firepower’s Military Strength Ranking 2022 ranks Australia 17th in the world. Australia is an important middle power in the region and is a key partner of the West as well as with India militarily.
  • Brand Finance's Global Soft Power Index 2022 ranks Australia 13th in the world. Australia’s massive education and sports industries, combined with a developed country status, make it punch above its weight in terms of cultural and economic influence.
  • Lowly Institute's Global Diplomacy Index 2024 ranks Australia 26th in the world, reflecting its widespread diplomatic network and reach. It remains the preeminent diplomatic force in its geographical neighbourhood, with a strong sphere of influence in the Pacific islands.

Policies and initiatives

Governance structure

The Commonwealth of Australia is a multiparty parliamentary democracy under a Constitutional Monarchy. Australia is a federation, where the Commonwealth and the states have a division of powers, with local governments seeing devolution from the states. The Australian Parliament is bicameral, with a Lower House (House of Representatives) and an Upper House (Senate). The Australian Electoral Commission is the Statutory Authority overseeing the free and fair conduct of referendums and Federal Elections, while State Electoral Commissions oversee elections in State and Local Governments. The Commonwealth Grants Commission is responsible for advising the Government on GST distributions between the Commonwealth and States, upholding fiscal transfers which are federal and ensuring they meet the demands of all stakeholders involved. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is the principal agency responsible for Australian diplomacy, while also serving as an in-house think-tank. It coordinates amongst other departments, while also handling foreign trade, economic, and sanctions-related affairs. The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and the Australia New Zealand School of Government promote research in the field and actively participate in policy issues. 

Related articles

Read the latest 'Politics & International Relations' research articles covering Australia and India - or submit your own.

Bilateral frameworks for cooperation between India and Australia

Trade and investment opportunity

  • India’s Australia Economic Strategy 2020 contains India’s outlook on opportunities and potential collaborations between the two countries.
  • Australia’s India Economic Strategy to 2035
  •  [Defence Chapter] contains comprehensive, cross-sector snapshots of market opportunities and positions for Australian firms and State endeavours in this sector. The five-year action plan states the "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and Defence Science and Technology Implementing Arrangement alongside other defence related initiatives, are building greater levels of trust with India."
  • The Australia-India Business Council maintains close relationships with federal and state government agencies, the diplomatic corps and industry bodies, as does the Indo-Australian Chamber of Commerce. The Australia India Chamber of Commerce is aimed at facilitating dialogue between businesses in Australia and India.
  • The Australia India Council seeks to advance to advance Australia's foreign and trade policy interests by building awareness and understanding between the peoples and institutions of Australia and India.
  • Austrade has offices in six Indian cities to facilitate Australian business interests.

Cooperation and collaborations

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