New Centre for India-Australia Relations Established to Build on Trade Ties

The Centre will be based in the western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, home to one of the country’s largest Indian expat communities.
New Centre for India-Australia Relations Established to Build on Trade Ties
Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Penny Wong addresses the National Press Club in Canberra, Monday, April 17, 2023. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

The Albanese Labor government has announced a new Centre for India-Australia Relations in another step to tighten relations between the countries.

With India on track to become the world’s third-largest economy by the end of the decade, the move is aimed at placing Australia in the box seat for India’s growth.

The new Parramatta headquarters will be a focal point for government, business, academia, the cultural sector, and Indian-Australian communities.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Penny Wong, said Australia was poised to reap the benefits of a close relationship with India.

“Working more closely with our Indian-Australian communities–our fastest growing diaspora–means we can better respond to a diverse and evolving India,” she said.

“The Centre’s CEO and Director Network will assist Australian business leaders to engage with India’s growth story.”

Five Indian nationals from the Maitri Scholars Program, which offers scholarships to India’s best and brightest to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degrees in Australia, have also been announced.

The students are set to complete PhDs on STEM research topics, including advanced manufacturing and clean energy solutions.

Seven Maitri fellows will undertake research projects exploring Australia and India’s shared geostrategic and economic future, including in maritime security, responding to climate change, and secure supply chains.

“The Maitri scholars and fellows will also contribute to a broader and deeper understanding of the Australia India relationship, our shared interests and our shared challenges, while fostering life-long connections,” Ms. Wong said.

The Australian government will also begin consultations on a future Australia-India economic roadmap.

This roadmap will build on the landmark 2018 India Economic Strategy authored by Peter Varghese as the nation continues to negotiate its next free trade agreement with India, including for greater market access in agriculture and manufacturing.

These initiatives are on top of the $14.3 million in funding provided in last week’s budget, to expand the Australia-India Business Exchange, and tackle areas such as agrifood, education, technology, and energy and resources.

There will also be missions to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to help grow trade across wider South Asia region.

Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator Don Farrell said it was a “big win” for Australia.

“Since our government implemented a new trade deal with India, Australian businesses have seen a massive boost in exports,” he said.

“A new India economic roadmap will help us focus and accelerate our efforts to harness India’s growth and tap into the enormous trade and investment opportunities that will help us secure a future made in Australia.”

CEO of the Centre for Australia-India Relations, Tim Thomas, said the Centre was a key part of the process.

“The Centre for Australia-India Relations is excited to establish its headquarters in Parramatta, a thriving innovation ecosystem and an important focal point for the vibrant Indian-Australian community,” he said.

“The centre will continue to galvanise Australian stakeholders to move on the tremendous opportunities that India’s growth presents.”

Last year, Australia was pegged as a major trading partner with India, who could deliver critical minerals to the nation of more than 1.4 billion people.
Crystal-Rose Jones is a reporter based in Australia. She previously worked at News Corp for 16 years as a senior journalist and editor.
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