Australia to set up Consulate General in Bengaluru

By Our Reporter
Representational image. Prestige Lakeside Habitat, Bengaluru, India. Photo by satyaprakash kumawat on Unsplash

Prime Minister Scott Morrison today said that Australia is seeking to establish a new Consulate General in Bengaluru, which is the world’s fastest growing technology hub and home to a third of India’s unicorn companies.

“Australia’s new mission in Bengaluru would expand our diplomatic presence in India to five posts,” Morrison said.

The new Consulate-General will focus on deepening Australia’s ties to India’s vibrant innovators, technologists and entrepreneurs. It will support Australian businesses in one of the world’s most important commercial centres. Half of the next billion internet users are projected to be in India, and India’s digital economy, centred on Bengaluru, is set to grow to US$1 trillion by 2025.

Speaking on the occasion of the Bengaluru Tech Summit, Morrison, while thanking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu and Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for hosting “what is the region’s largest technology event”, said, “The Consulate-General will expand our diplomatic presence in India to five diplomatic posts, further to our High Commission in New Delhi and Consulates-General in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, deepening our engagement with Indian governments at all levels. This will promote engagement with India’s southern states and our outreach to Australia’s diaspora and alumni communities.”

Morrison also said a new Australia-India Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy will be set up based in India.

The Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy will bring together Australian and Indian technologists, policy practitioners, academics, researchers and thought leaders. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative that will help guide the responsible development and use of critical technologies.

It will promote stronger investment opportunities and cutting-edge innovation in cyber, critical and emerging technologies. It will amplify Australia’s and India’s policy impact globally, while visiting fellows from around the Indo-Pacific will broaden the Centre’s influence.

The Centre of Excellence is among the flagship initiatives of Australia’s new Action Plan for Critical Technologies, and an important part of delivering on Australia’s strategy for protecting and promoting technologies, the Blueprint for Critical Technologies. It will provide a practical platform for Australia and India to work together to shape technology governance that aligns with our values and supports an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific.

“The Centre will bring together Australian and Indian technologists, policy practitioners, academics, researchers and thought leaders. Helping our nations shape technology governance so it aligns with our values and supports an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region.”

The Centre will also promote investment opportunities and innovation between Australia and India in technology.

Australia will deepen its ties to India’s innovators, to its technologists and entrepreneurs — as well as India’s governments at all levels.

“It is appropriate that today as you gather for this Tech Summit in India, that we’re kicking off the first-ever Sydney Dialogue in Australia. This is a global summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies — and I’m delighted to be announcing Australia’s first-ever Blueprint for Critical Technologies at that event,” Morrison said.

Morisson said India and Australia shared a deep friendship – “mateship as we say in Australia , or as you say, maitri. Australia and India are diverse, multicultural, liberal democracies who seek a world that is prosperous, safe and secure, and where  human dignity is best expressed through choice and freedom.

“Our vision of the world understands the potential of technology to respond to the challenges of our time  and to lift all  to raise those living standards. We have witnessed this so powerfully over the past 18 months, with medical breakthroughs now allowing us all to plan for a world after this pandemic,” the Prime Minister said.

It is this same capacity to innovate that will at the fore of all the efforts efforts addressing climate change and in transitioning to a new energy economy, Morrison stressed.

Calling India a major technology power, Morrison said technology is at the forefront of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which Prime Minister Modi and him signed last year.

“We’re already making great progress. We’re sharing expertise on cyber and critical technologies like quantum computing and AI. We’re collaborating on the mining and processing of critical minerals — like cobalt and lithium and rare earth elements — that are vital to clean energy technologies, and have military applications. We’re also cooperating on space science, technology, and research — and Australia is proud to be supporting India’s inspirational Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission,” he said.

Australia and India are also deepening education and research links vital to technological cooperation. They are also working towards a low-emissions technology partnership, which will see both countries combine efforts on hydrogen and ultra-low-cost solar.

“Our countries are also working with the United States and Japan through the Quad Leaders Dialogue,” Morrison said, adding, “This is about four like-minded democracies coming together, from our region, to show we can make a positive difference in addressing our region’s biggest challenges. It’s a very practical and positive partnership — fostering an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem  that’s a big focus of ours. So Australia is working with like-minded countries, liberal democracies in particular, to ensure global technology rules and norms reflect those values  liberal democratic values.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the Sydney Dialogue tomorrow.

“And we will continue to work together, in a spirit of mutual trust and understanding, for the security and prosperity of our peoples and the Indo-Pacific region — guided and enabled by technology,” Morrison said.

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