New Delhi: “India’s opening up of engagement and activities with Australia is a great morale booster for the entire world, especially during the current crisis,” stated Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, while speaking on the occasion of the launch of the strategy report “Enhancing India Australia Bilateral Economic and Trade Relationship”.
Mr. Goyal stated that the comprehensive report will expand the Australia-India relationship further. Apart from traditional sectors such as mining and resources, India has made significant forays into newer areas such as gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, auto and spare parts, healthcare, agribusiness etc., which have great potential to expand this partnership, he added.
Opportunities in newer emerging areas such as space collaboration, defense, education, especially through greater degree of digital engagement, hold great promise for intensifying the bilateral engagement, he stressed.
Highlighting that India’s exports to Australia are still at modest levels, Mr. Goyal stated that India is engaging in continuous dialogue to bridge this gap for greater engagement with Australian companies. While stressing on the importance of diversification of supply chains for managing the current transitions in global value chains, he added, “India can provide a core pathway for linking supply chains and provide trusted and reliable suppliers to the world”.
Emphasizing the host of reforms and incentives undertaken by India to create an investment friendly business environment, the Minister stated that the Australian companies also have tremendous scope in India. Easing of FDI norms and opening up of sectors such as defense and manufacturing, agricultural reforms, and others will greatly boost Indian engagement with Australian companies, he added.
The report was prepared by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in collaboration with KPMG, and led by Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, Former Secretary East), Ministry of External Affairs and Distinguished Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation and Chair.
Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, former Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Government of Australia, in his message said that both the Governments have elevated the Australia-India relationship into a comprehensive strategic partnership and that Australia is committed to an upward bilateral and trade trajectory with India”.
Senator Simon Birmingham further added that cooperation across diverse and new areas such as technology and cybersecurity, AI, quantum computing and robotics, waste management, etc. will give a further heft to the India-Australia bilateral partnership.
Ambassador Anil Wadhwa, Chair, Australia Economic Strategy, stated, “Changed geo-political relations offer some great opportunities for both countries.”
Initiating an FTA, reviving the CEO’s forum, starting a joint innovation and start-up fund and direct flights between both sides were some of the recommendations presented by the Ambassador to increase trade, investments and tourism between both sides.
H E Mr A. Gitesh Sarma, High Commissioner of India to Australia, expressed his assurance that the India Australia partnership is long term. He added that the timely release of the report will add new energy to the bilateral partnership.
Mr Anil Agrawal, Joint Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India stated that the report is significant as the two countries are trying to establish a resilient supply chain initiative and are committed to expand cooperation in various areas, including integrating MSMEs of other countries into the global value chains.
Mr Rodney Hilton, Deputy Chief of Mission, Australian High Commission, noted that the report is important and timely and will contribute to strategic bilateral relationship.
“There are great synergies between the two economies that needs to be harnessed” said Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, highlighting that CII is committed to implementation of the recommendations in the report.