By our reporter
Melbourne, 30 May : Victoria Minister Louise Asher, the Minister for Trade, Employment, Tourism and Major events and on Australia India Institute (AII) inaugural director Amitabh Mattoo were awarded the Australia India Business Council’s (AIBC) 2014 Ashoka Award for their contributions to India-Australia relationship.
The Awards were presented to Minister Asher and Prof Mattoo at a glittering function at the RACV Club attended by the Victorian Governor Mr.Alex Chernov and several Australian and Indian dignitaries. The event was also attended by a large number of prominent guests from businesses, government, media and the community.
The 2014 Ashoka Award is the third in the series that was started in 2012 by the AIBC President Mr. Ravi Bhatia and the Ashoka Award Committee. Prof Mattoo is the first Indian-origin person to receive the award.
Receiving the 2014 Ashoka Award from the Indian High Commissioner Mr. Biren Nanda, Minister Asher said the Victorian government has been working on a four-point engagement programme for building ties with India which included enhancing understanding between the two sides through cultural and student exchange programmes and also building strategic, trade and investment relations.
Minister Asher said that since 2011, she has been on trade missions to India six times from which “the reported exports were recorded at over USD 653 million dollars”.
Prof Mattoo, while thanking Dr Ravi Bhatia for the award, said though relations between Australia and India have improved and grown over past few years, there was still a big scope to further strengthen it.
Speaking on the occasion, the Indian High Commissioner, Mr. Nanda said the new Indian government has been assertive about trade and investment which Australia should see as a unique opportunity to build future relations.
“Because of it having its own majority in Parliament the present government will have greater ease in pulling its agenda but there might also be hurdles in fulfilling the many expectations,” Mr. Nanda said.
Dr Ravi Bhatia said that, quite coincidentally, the evening turned out by a celebration not only for Ashoka Award but also for the elections in India that have conclusively demonstrated the strengths of a democratic city. He said that the strong mandate given to Mr Modi had invigorated the nation for rapid economic growth and opportunities.
- SAT News Service.