Turnbull and Modi
Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi during his ceremonial reception at the forecourt of India's Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi, India, April 10, 2017. Reuters

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pushed for negotiations on securing a trade deal with India during his first visit to the country.

Turnbull, who is in India from 9 to 11 April, said that the volume of goods and services that flowed between the two nations last year amounted to $20bn. He added that the compatible nature of the two economies indicated that the trade flow represents only a "fraction" of the full potential that could be unleashed with a better trade deal.

The Australian prime minister also talked about reviving negotiations for the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between the two nations.

CECA negotiations had first began on 2011; with the last one held in September 2015. The talks have not made any substantial progress since then. A concern over the deal's disruptive impact on the Indian agricultural sector is one of the main causes of the stalemate.

"We had a very good discussion about the CECA, the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement between India and Australia and I think it is fair to say that we feel that progress has not been as fast as either of us would like it to be," mentioned Turnbull.

He is also seeking to develop more "tangible, commercial opportunities" for possible trade and investment deals with India during his scheduled trip to Mumbai later this week.

Turnbull also introduced the possibility of making progress on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which is a multilateral trade agreement between 10 countries, including Australia and India.

Turnbull added that Australia is working with India on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the RCEP. The multilateral trade agreement includes 10 countries, including Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The Australian prime minister's push for a more multilateral trade deal may be the result of India's track record for taking a hard line with brokering trade deals.

Philip Hammond, the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer, had also organised a trade delegation to India during the annual UK-India Economic and Financial Dialogue on April 2. A tangible outcome from the visit is yet to be seen.