Melbourne: The Australia India Institute (AII) has appointed Mr Jim Varghese, AM, as AII’s Executive Director of Business Development. The announcement was made by Professor Amitabh Mattoo, Director and CEO of the AII, Mr Varghese will lead AII’s mission to strengthen ties with business and develop partnerships with Australian firms interested in investment in India.
Mr. Varghese is uniquely qualified for this senior executive role with AII. His outstanding record as a chief executive in both the public and private sectors, includes running multifaceted businesses, fostering innovation, and delivering excellent results in a challenging and ever-changing environment.
Mr Varghese was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to the Public Sector and in 2009 was awarded an Order of Australia for Services to Public Sector Reform and Services to the Community.
- SAT News Service.
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.
By our reporter
Melbourne, 23 Dec, 2013: People in Australia interested in the coming Lok Sabha elections in India in mid 2014 will have an informative and analytical website on it for all the news, views and analysis. The Australia India Institute (AII), in collaboration with the University of Melbourne and the Melbourne School of Government have announced ‘Election Watch 2014’, a state of the art website which will be a one-stop site for in-depth coverage of the 2014 Indian General Elections, including the parties, policies, campaigns, personalities, advertisements, state-by-state analysis and results.
Talking to SAT, Mr. Amitabh Mattoo, Director AII said, “The aim of the website is to be the most comprehensive and credible source of information outside India on the 2014 general elections.”
‘Election Watch’ will include content from the Fellows of the AII, students and faculty of The University of Melbourne, experts from wider Australia and reporters on the ground in India. Producing content which is independent and rigorously researched, ‘Election Watch’ will be a trusted source of news, information and analysis on the elections in May 2014, says the AII website.
Further announcements check AII’s website and 2013electionwatch.com.au.
- SAT News Service
By our correspondent
Melbourne: The recent Report of the Australia India Institute’s “ Perceptions Taskforce Beyond the Lost Decade’ has made recommendations to the Australian Government to take steps to build trust and improve perceptions of each other (Australia & India) in the fields of education, diplomacy, media and security are called for. The independent taskforce was constituted by John McCarthy, AO, Sanjaya Baru, Gopalaswami Parthasarathy, Maxine McKew, Ashok Malik and Christopher Kremmer.
In his introduction to the report Amitabh Mattoo, AII Director says: “This report, Beyond the Lost Decade, discusses the key issues arising from this process and presents them from Indian and Australian viewpoints. It draws conclusions and proposes recommendations for action that the Taskforce members believe will create more robust Australia-India ties. The problems of the past reflected our different histories and social and political realities. But our interests are converging and people-to-people ties and economic and security cooperation will grow. At times provocative, but always insightful, this report is a must-read, not just for policy-makers, but anyone with a stake in closer relations between Australia and its Asian neighbours, especially India.”
The report analysis relations between India and Australia covering all fields and feels that while they are improving but are ‘brittle’.
The rec ommendations include:
• Doubling the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s public diplomacy budget to A$10 million per annum; The overseas television broadcaster Australia Network to retain close links with DFAT but funding and editorial responsibility should rest with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
• A new Indo-Pacific or Australasia Division within India’s Ministry of External Affairs as part of an expedited restructure of the ministry.
• Extending post-study work rights to international students enrolled in courses at TAFE institutes and other reputable vocational training establishments, the sector in which most Indian students have traditionally enrolled.
• Training Australian school teachers in the Hindi language in anticipation of it being added to the Australian Curriculum before the end of this decade.
• As an act of goodwill, extending to December 2013 the visas of Indian students caught up in changes to regulations following the student crisis of 2009; and tasking the Australian Institute of Criminology to undertake more 10research into racism and crime, including the events that affected Indian students in 2009-10.
• An Australian education rating system for States that provide education services to international students which can downgrade states that fail to provide proper security and education standards for international students.
• Invitations to representatives of Indian Army regiments that fought at Gallipoli to participate in Australian commemoration ceremonies to mark the 100th anniversary of the campaign in 2015.
• An Australia-India senior editors’ dialogue, and the Press Trust of India to consider posting a permanent correspondent in Australia.
• Permanent naval attaché positions to be established in both capitals.
• Regular institutionalised Prime Ministerial visits between New Delhi and Canberra and a young political leaders program between India and Australia.
• Visas on arrival for some Australian travellers to India as currently permitted to citizens of New Zealand.
• A one-stop shop online portal serving all aspects of trade, diplomatic, educational, people-to-people and cultural relations between Australia and India.
The full report can be accessed at – http://www.aii.unimelb.edu.au/wpcontent/uploads/2012/07/Beyond-the-Lost-Decadeweb.pdf