By Neeraj Nanda
MELBOURNE, 17 December 2021: The relations between India and Australia are moving ahead as the diplomatic, economic and other steps between them take pace amid the growing perceptions about China’s moves in the Indo-Pacific. The announcement of $ 36.6 million in the mid-year Budget 2021-22 for five years for the ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India’ initiatives is seen a step ahead in this direction.
Both the countries have been having high level talks for a free trade agreement for many years. Lisa Singh, CEO, Australia India Institute recently at an event said this could come happen by early next year.This and other Australian engagement with India including former PM Tony Abbott’s visits to India have strengthened relations, which were a big low during the Cold War.
In an interview to SBS Hindi, Prof. Pradeep Taneja says, most of the money allocated now will go to maintain the planned Australian Consulate in India’s IT hub, Bengaluru. Australia already has Consulates in Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata apart from the High Commission in New Delhi.
Prof Taneja also says in a Tweet that some funding in the new initiatives should have been allocated to the Australia India Institute for India related research.
The funding will also be available to a Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology to shape tech governance and support an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific. This obviously is aimed at countering China’s dominance in this sector as Australian ties with China are passing through a rough patch.