Australia promised to step up its trade and investment with India and start a consulate general in Calcutta by early next year to take care of its growing business with India’s east-based mining industry.
Scott Morrison, Australian Prime Minister, announced that his government would “raise Australian investment in India ten-fold” to $100 billion.
Morrison indicated that his country would focus on four sectors in its trade and investment ties with India — resources, education, agri-business and tourism.
Australia, which has been a prime source of high quality coal for Indian steel mills and thermal power plants, is eager to enter the iron ore, coal and bauxite sectors in India.
The plan is also desirable increasing two-way trade which the Australian Prime Minister placed at Aus $27.5 billion, to Aus $145 billion by 2035.
Coal worth round Aus $9.18 billion was bought by India from Australia last year.
“Coal is our top export to India ... we are very serious about coal and very serious about our relationship with India,” said Morrison.
This objective prompted Morrison to announce a new consulate general in Calcutta, which Australian officials said would start its operations from early next year.
Australia is also looking at the 14-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, to be finalised next year, as the way forward to build the trade relationship.
The RCEP includes Asean, India, China, Japan and Australia. Australian trade minister Simon Birmingham indicated that Australia would look at bilateral free trade deals after signing the pact.
President Kovind said, “India and Australia have much at stake, not to up their game.” To which Morrison replied, “I like to cook on Saturday night and it’s always a curry... we are at the masala stage (in bilateral economic relationship) ... we need to get the recipe right.”