Australia Launches India Country Strategy

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“India has the greatest potential for Australia in Asia”

Aug. 27 – The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, has recently unveiled Australia’s plan for bilateral engagement with India. Australia’s India country strategy will seek to build a stronger and more comprehensive relationship, a directive first revealed in Australia’s most recent White Paper.

“Australia’s relationship with India has perhaps the greatest potential to grow out of all of Australia’s significant bilateral relationships in Asia,” commented Rudd. “There is no greater symbol of the ties we share with India than the contribution and successes of the Indian diaspora who have made Australia home.”

According to the country strategy, India is Australia’s 10th-largest trading partner and 5th largest export market. In 2012, exports were worth a total of $14 billion. Furthermore, there are 450,000 Indians currently living in Australia, and during 2011-12 India was Australia’s largest source of permanent and skilled migrants.

Australia’s India country strategy highlights three key pathways for achieving a greater relationship with India moving towards 2025:

  • Increased cultural familiarity and exchange: including student exchanges, business internships, and improving the knowledge of Hindi and other Indian languages in the Australian community.
  • Increased two-way mobility: an increase of the number of people moving between Australia and India to boost business links and cooperation.
  • Importance of an informed and selective focus: ability to work within India’s enormous, diverse and complex society, towards which Australia will build sister-city and state relationships and work with community groups to find local partners within India.

In regards to connecting businesses, the country strategy states that Australia needs to develop greater familiarity with doing business in India, including institutionalizing business-to-business links. Business associations such as the Australia-India CEO Forum should be encouraged, with new avenues for cooperation being explored.

By 2025, Australia aims to increase two-way trade by three times. Within this, the country strategy outlines that India will be established as one of Australia’s top five trading partners, while Australia will be positioned as one of India’s top five resource and energy suppliers.

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