India and Australia: Strengthening Partnerships
MUMBAI: Asia Society India Centre in partnership with the Australian Consulate of Mumbai hosted a private afternoon reception for the Honourable Simon Birmingham, the Australian Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, on February 27th at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai. Mr Ashishkumar Chauhan, the Managing Director and CEO of Bombay Stock Exchange, delivered the welcome address and facilitated the Q&A session after the Minister’s speech. In the audience were prominent members of the city’s business and diplomatic communities along with a few Australian delegates who accompanied the minister on his trade mission to India.
The Minister commenced his speech by acknowledging the recent progress in the bilateral relationship with the Australia-India Business Exchange, a six-month engagement in the sectors of education, tourism, energy resources, premium foods, infrastructure and investment. Citing the many cross-cutting interests between the two countries, he stated that two growing economies offered many growth opportunities for each other. While acknowledging the current threat of the COVID-19 outbreak across the world, he emphasised the importance of upholding economic policies that supported open markets and international trade as global supply chains faced disruption in the wake of rising public health concerns. Apart from the global health concerns the minister noted that “Challenges also rich and laden with opportunity – rapid technological transformation, global power realignment, climate change, challenges to existing financial or economic architecture, slower than hoped for growth in cases – these are all real 21st Century challenges which we must all continue to adapt as well.”
Referring to the recent developments in the world of international trade, the minister reiterated Australia’s commitment in maintaining healthy international trade partnerships, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, while actively participating in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the World Trade Organization. He further added that Australia respected India’s decision to not join the RCEP presently and looked forward to welcoming the Indian leadership for the next stage of negotiations. Speaking about the India Economic Strategy, he highlighted Australia’s dedication to increasing investment in India from $15 billion to $100 billion by 2035 and acknowledged the efforts made by the Modi government in commissioning the Australia Economic Strategy to further consolidate the commercial partnership between the two.
This was followed by a Q&A session with Mr. Chauhan where audience members asked the minister about Australia’s views on the economic impact of the coronavirus, export of mining equipment to India, coal and fossil fuel investment in light of the Australian bushfires, education cooperation and agribusiness exchanges between the two countries among other such issues.
Watch the complete programme here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYwIpsbzDZE
As reported by Deepashree Mahajan, Programme Assistant, Asia Society India Centre