Lamenting that Australian businesses were not so visible in India, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday asked them to make efforts to address this "gap" and increase their investments in the country which offers them the prospect of "considerable returns".
Lamenting that Australian businesses were not so visible in India, President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday asked them to make efforts to address this “gap” and increase their investments in the country which offers them the prospect of “considerable returns”. Addressing the Australian business community in Sydney in presence of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Kovind said the two countries can collaborate and benefit each other in areas of finance, logistics, industrial design, biotech, capital markets, farming, food and space technology.
“Australia and India have too much at stake in each other to not up their game,” he said. “The Indian market offers the Australian investors a huge consumer base and the prospects of considerable returns.” He said it was not that Australian companies were not present in India but there is enormous room for the two sides to work together.
“Frankly, the big country and the big friend that we are not seeing as much of in the India investment story is Australia… This is a gap we need to address,” said Kovind, the first Indian head of state to visit Australia. India-Australia bilateral relations have been on an upswing and the economic ties grew during the past decades, after liberalisation of the Indian economy in the early 1990s.
According to the Indian High Commission in Canberra, bilateral trade in goods and services between the two countries has grown from AUD 6.54 billion in 2003-04 to AUD 19.29 billion in 2015-16. The president also asked the trillion-dollar Australian Superfund industry to invest in Indian infrastructure industry which will lead to a “win-win” situation for both the countries.
Expressing confidence that the long-pending free bilateral trade agreement will soon see an outcome, Kovind said the trade basket of the two sides must grow. He said India is looking forward to a balanced outcome of mutually beneficial economic partnership with Australia. Earlier Thursday Kovind met Prime Minister Morrison. He said they had a meaningful discussion on bilateral issues and his visit is to take the “dialogue, discussion and cooperation” forward.
Outlining India’s several important economic initiatives, including Goods and Services Tax, Kovind said, “In recent years, India has renewed its commitment to a liberal, transparent and globalised economy.” “In terms of openness to foreign capital and international investors, India is on the top league… India is in the midst of its infrastructure push of unusual urgency,” he said.
“Our Make in India programme is gathering pace. I am happy to note that mass-transit rail coaches made in India have recently been exported to Australia. From textiles to automobiles there are so many other made-in-India products in which we could interest you,” he said, adding there were many Indian IT companies that have invested in Australia, employing young Australians.
Speaking at the event, the Australian prime minister said his government has endorsed the recently-launched India economic strategy, a blueprint to transform our economic engagement, including 10 short-term and ten long -term priority recommendations. “We have agreed to initial implementation plan across government and we will build that plan over the life of strategy,” Morrison said adding that there were four sectors — education, resources, agro-business and tourism.
He said Australia and India can break new grounds in developing trade ties.