The Australia India Business Council (AIBC) NSW Chapter’s 2014 Annual Australia India Address, held on Thursday 7 August, emphasised the significance of trade and investment between Australia and India and the highest level of commitment given to this by the new governments of both nations.
The event, held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney, was attended by Julie Bishop MP, federal minister for foreign affairs, officially representing prime minister Tony Abbott. Among the dignitaries were Mike Baird MP, premier of NSW, Biren Nanda, high commissioner of India to Australia, and Sanjay Sudhir, consul general of India in Sydney; cricketer Brett Lee, senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, Victor Dominello, MP, NSW minister for citizenship and communities, Ian Narev, chief executive, CBA, John Harnden, chief executive ICC World Cup 2015 Australia, and other prominent stake holders in the Australia-India business space.
Delivering the keynote address on behalf of the prime minister, Ms Bishop acknowledged that ties between Australia and India now had a momentum that was unstoppable with the new governments in each nation committed to grow two-way trade.
“Our prime minister was one of the first world leaders to contact new Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, inviting him to Australia for the G20 Leaders’ Summit and a bilateral visit,” she said.
“So we’re going to see our prime ministers together on the world stage very shortly. They both have ambitious infrastructure agendas.”
“It has been 28 years since an Indian Prime Minister visited Australia. This year, 2014, we expect bilateral visits by both Prime Ministers.
“Australia and India are natural partners across the board, and Australia is keen on elevating India to the position of Best Partner of Business. The very best days of Australia India business lie ahead,” Ms Bishop added.
In his speech, Mr Nanda provided an update on the changes led by the government of India’s newly elected prime minister Narendra Modi.
“Key projects included the National eGovernance Plan connecting all state and local government offices in every village and town in India. As well, India’s new environmental policy would promote cleaner fuels to bring down pollution levels. Transport too, would be upgraded, with the Golden Quadrilateral Railways Project connecting Indian cities with high-speed rail lines expected to halve travel times.”
Mr Baird, premier of NSW, said: “I make a commitment to visit India at least once a year to take advantage of the huge opportunity that the country provides to NSW. Tourism, infrastructure projects in energy and transport, and financial services are key areas for both NSW and India to establish business relationships,” he added.
Dipen Rughani, AIBC national chairman, said: “If Australia wants to be part of India’s growth, it must invest in this relationship. It’s time Australia sheds its risk-averse nature and accepted the challenge to benefit from India’s opening markets. Japan, UK, China, France, USA have already embarked on plans to increase bilateral trade with India during Modi’s tenure. Australia must not be left behind,” he stated.
In her speech, Sheba Nandkeolyar, AIBC National Vice Chair spoke about AIBC’s deep engagement in promoting bi-lateral ties between Australia and India. “Besides policy, planning and advocacy, AIBC regularly hosts and organises trade delegations to and from India. AIBC has been working closely with OIFC, FICCI, CII, AICC among others in India.”
AIBC NSW President John Cox said: “AIBC NSW was a key state Chapter of the AIBC and played a pivotal role in facilitating bilateral trade between NSW and India – not only with a range of activities for its AIBC members, but also in working closely with government trade and investment offices and their representatives based in India.
“We have had a very busy year so far and with delegations coming soon in relation to the IT industry, Vibrant Gujarat and the G20 it would seem to be a busy year to follow.”
Three businesses were felicitated with AIBC awards of excellence presented by Minister Bishop to Nitish Jain of SP Jain Global Management Institute, Rituraj Sinha and George Chin of MSS Security and DD Saxena of Riverina Oils & Bio Energy Pty Ltd( ROBE).
Other highlights included the display of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 and CEO John Harnden’s overview on one of the greatest sporting events to happen in 2015.
In Brett Lee’s conversation with MC Kartik Mohandas the attendees had an insight into the Brett Lee Foundation Mewsic, and its work with sick and poor children in India.
Graham Putt, CBA, delivered the vote of thanks.
Published in The Indian Sun, Australia