Strengthening ties through the Centre for Australia-India Relations

  • Joint media release with:

Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Foreign Affairs

The Albanese Government is pleased to launch the new Centre for Australia-India Relations headquarters in Parramatta, along with a series of initiatives to further strengthen Australia's links with India.

The new headquarters will be a focal point for government, business, academia, the cultural sector and Indian-Australian communities to drive new partnership opportunities between our countries. The Centre's headquarters are supported by both the Australian and New South Wales Governments.

Today we are pleased to announce the recipients of the Centre's inaugural Maitri Scholars and Fellowships programs. Five Maitri Scholars from India will complete PhDs on STEM research topics, including advanced manufacturing and clean energy solutions. Seven Maitri Fellows will undertake research projects exploring our shared geostrategic and economic future, including in maritime security, responding to climate change, secure supply chains and closer regional cooperation.

India is on track to be the world's third largest economy by the end of the decade. To ensure Australia benefits from India's growth, the Australian Government will commence consultations on a future Australia-India economic roadmap. This roadmap will build on the landmark 2018 India Economic Strategy authored by Peter Varghese, and harness the untapped potential we see in some key sectors, while focusing and accelerating our work for the next phase of our relationship. Australia also 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 additional $14.3m in funding provided in last week's budget, to expand the Australia India Business Exchange. Austrade will lead new business missions to India across a range of sectors – including agrifood, education, technology, and energy and resources like critical minerals. The expanded program also involves pilot business missions to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to help grow our trade across the South Asia.

Recognising the expertise of Indian-Australian communities, we also announce the Centre's CEO and Director Network. The Network consists of a group of Indian-Australian corporate leaders who will build knowledge of India among their peers in the Australian business community.

Further information on the inaugural Maitri Scholars and Fellows is available on the Centre for Australia-India Relations website.

Public submissions for the new Australia-India roadmap are encouraged and will be open until 5 August 2024.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Penny Wong:

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

"The Centre's CEO and Director Network will assist Australian business leaders to engage with India's growth story.

"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."

Quotes attributable to Minister for Trade and Tourism, Senator the Hon Don Farrell:

"Trade with India is shaping up to be a big win for Australia. Since our government implemented a new trade deal with India, Australian businesses have seen a massive boost in exports.

But we think we can go even further, which is why we committed over $14m in this years' budget to expand the Australia India Business Exchange, and have announced consultations on a new Australia-India economic roadmap.

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."

Quotes attributable to CEO Centre for Australia-India Relations, Tim Thomas:

"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. The Centre has built strong momentum through our Maitri grants and stakeholder impact programs. The Centre will continue to galvanise Australian stakeholders to move on the tremendous opportunities that India's growth presents."

Media note: Imagery is also available via DFAT media library

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