“It is a perfect opportunity in the midst of a global pandemic to further strengthen the economic relations between our two countries and the momentum has been revived “ beamed Mr. Jim Varghese, National Chair, Australia India Business Council (AIBC) on the PM Narendra Modi’s virtual summit with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held on Thursday 4 June 2020.
“India – Australia relations have deepened. We have shared visions, shared interests and shared objectives said the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “it is time for our relationship to go broader and deeper” said Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister.
India and Australia signed nine agreements including the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) which will allow militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies besides facilitating scaling up of overall defense cooperation.
Besides the MLSA, the other agreements signed will provide for bilateral cooperation include areas of cyber and cyber-enabled critical technology, mining and minerals, military technology, vocational education and water resources management.
The bilateral economic engagement too has been on the rise in the last few years. According to official data, the trade between the two countries was around USD 21 billion in 2018-19.
Australia’s cumulative investment in India is about USD 10.74 billion whereas India’s total investment in Australia is USD 10.45 billion. Australian Super Pension Fund has invested USD 1 billion in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.
India is expected to overtake China as the world’s most populous country by 2035, and by that time, it is expected that the Indian community will become the largest diaspora in Australia.
“No single market offers more growth opportunity for Australian business than India out to 2035 “said Mr. Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
AIBC has established several Industry chapters to focus on the identification, development and achieving outcomes in specific market segments in the bilateral trade between Australia and India such as Agribusiness Chapter, Education and Skills Development Chapter, Healthcare Chapter, Make in India Chapter, SME Chapter, Start-ups and Innovation Chapter and Women in Business Chapter.
AIBC has also partnered with Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce (FICCI) and has close working relationships with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and INVEST INDIA to deliver focussed events and webinars on topics of current interest such as post COVID 19 Supply Chain and new outlook on manufacturing scenario etc to engage with Australian Industries.
Mr. Manish Singhal, Deputy Secretary General, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) said “the first successfully concluded virtual summit between India and Australia, actually conveyed hope and belief to the business community that the current situation cannot hold both our countries from moving towards accelerating the economic growth. Virtual meeting of PM Modi and PM Morrison inspired us all to convert potential calamity into an opportunity.
Elevation of our bilateral relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) level, is a landmark development. Together, India and Australia have a larger role to play in Indo-Pacific region and Indian industry is prepared to engage more deeply to increase investments, trade and commerce between the regions.
FICCI, on its part, jointly with Australia India Business Council (AIBC), is working on opportunities of cooperation in energy, resources and water, industrial design, infrastructure investment, pharmaceutical research, Information Technology, metals recycling for manufacturing inputs and agribusiness. AIBC and FICCI jointly start a series of dialogue focusing on Make in India initiative and organize consultative meetings between the Australian regions and Indian states, in coming months.
“While the virtual summit between the two Prime Ministers offers will generate more opportunities moving forward, we will take a pragmatic approach in turning such opportunities to success stories” stated Mr. Jim Varghese, National Chair of AIBC.
Australia India Business Council (AIBC) is in the process of developing a proprietary Australia India Trade Index to present a real time bi-lateral trade outlook. AIBC is in the process of finalizing this, working closely with Government and other industry stakeholders. FICCI would be our industry partner to implement this initiative in India.
The AIBC is a not-for-profit organization facilitating and linking businesses, exporters and investors in Australia and India.