Tag: Australia-India

Environmentalists flak Tony Abbott’s meeting with Gautam Adani during India visit

Tony Abbott’s meeting with the Indian delegation led by India’s Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi in New Delhi. Photo- PIB

By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 12 August 2021: Former PM Tonny Abbott’s recent visit to India as Australia’s Special Trade envoy to India has drawn flak from environmentalists and the ‘Stop Adani’ environment organization. During his visit, Mr Abbott also met Mr Gautam Adani, whose company’s developing the world’s biggest coal mine in Queensland.

Twitter was abuzz with comments. Prof.Terry Hughes, Distinguished Professor and Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre of Excellence, Coral Reef Studies, Tweeted, ” Is there a collective noun for the supporters of giant coal mines in the 21st century…” This comment was in response to Gautam Adani’s Tweet, ” Indeed a pleasure to host @ HonTonyAbbott, @AusHCIndia Barry O’Farrell and @AusCG_Mumbai Peter Truswell – the best of Aussie wit in full flow over lunch. While we battle it out in cricket and hockey, our strategic alignment in business and national interests has never been stronger.”


The Stop Adani said sharing Huges Tweet on its Facebook page: This week, Scott Morrison (ScoMo) sent renowned climate change denier Tony Abbott and infamous former NSW premier Barry O’Farrell to India on a $19,000 taxpayer-funded trip to meet Gautam Adani and talk about coal.

In April 2021, Australia exported a record amount of coal to India. No doubt Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott, and Gautam Adani are hoping to increase this trade.

This taxpayer-funded junket is a slap in the face to all those families trying to get home during a global pandemic, and an embarrassing signal to the world that the Australian Government only cares about coal ahead of the Global Climate Summit in October.

In fact, there has been a heated reaction on the issue and comments can be read on the Stop Adani Facebook page where the above statement has been made. One comment reads, ” This was done very quietly! Disgraceful. And travelling to India in the middle of a pandemic, which is rife in India? Will they be going into hotel quarantine when they return??? I doubt it very much.

Another comment says, ” Tony Abbott is currently working as an adviser to the British government’s Board of Trade. Why are we paying to send him to India?
Stop Adani’s Facebook post –

Australia India Institute to observe ‘India Week 2021′ from 9-15 August


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 17 July 2021: The Australia India Institute (AII) will observe this year its annual India Week from 9-15 August, to mark India’s 75th year of independence starting on 15 August 2021. The annual event this year will showcase contemporary Indian culture, thought, politics and society. There are 19 online events that are aimed at strengthening the bonds of friendship between Australia and India.

Participants are required to register for the individual live and in-person programs at the AII website – https://www.aii.unimelb.edu.au/indiaweek2021/. Some of the events are as follows:

Art Exhibition – Indian Australian Artists: Folklore on Monday, 9 August – Sunday, 15 August; 12 pm – 6 pm (AEST): This group art exhibition, Folklore by Indian Australian Artists, captures the numerous aspects of the Indian folk culture, including tales, music, dance, legends, oral history, popular beliefs, and customs. This art exhibition is a means to connect the broader Australian community to the cultural folklores of India. No need to register – simply visit us at 147/149 Barry St, Carlton.

Webinar – India Week Official Launch: Australia & India in Partnership; Tuesday, 10 August 2:00 pm (AEST) / 9:30 am (IST): You will hear from a number of distinguished guests from India and Australia as they discuss the Australia and India education relationship and its future outlook, the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) under the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) between India and Australia, and the bilateral partnership from educational, political, media and corporate perspectives.

Webinar – Stories of Indigenousness: Land and Belonging; Tuesday, 10 August 6:30 pm (AEST) / 2:00 pm (IST): Excavating narratives from the Adivasis in India and the Aboriginal peoples in Australia, whose stories are underrepresented in media and culture in this “modern age”. Who do these lands truly belong to, and what can India and Australia learn from each other about their seemingly similar indigenous inhabitants? Join us for this special discussion, hosted by Belongg.

Live Podcast – Gender & Security in Asia – Wednesday, 11 August 3:30 pm (AEST) / 11:00 am (IST): In Asia, discussions, and policies concerning conflict, peace and security remain dominated by male voices and views. This live Asia Rising podcast recording, hosted by La Trobe University, will explore the importance of involving women in Asian security conversations and what can be done to ensure greater gender diversity.

Webinar – Literature, Political Writings & Influence on the Indian Freedom Struggle – Thursday, 12 August 2:30 pm (AEST) / 10:00 am (IST): This panel discussion will focus on Indian literature and political writings and their importance in the Indian freedom struggle. The discussion will broadly cover political writings, fiction: novels and poetry, women writers. Hosted in collaboration with Australia India Institute, Delhi, and the Daily Milap.

Webinar – Multiculturalism and the Creation of an Anti-Racist Society – Thursday, 12 August 6:30 pm (AEST) / 2:00 pm (IST): India and Australia are both countries with long histories of cultural assimilation; how can such multiculturalism lead to vibrant societies and how can a vibrant society, in turn, foster more multiculturalism? In this session, hosted by Belongg, our panelists will delve into what anti-racism and diversity truly mean, and how literature molds these realities while simultaneously introspecting on existing systems and stories.

Webinar – The Many Faces of Dr. Ambedkar – Saturday, 14 August 3:00 pm (AEST) / 10:30 am (IST): This webinar will explore Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s legacy, in partnership with Dr. Ambedkar International Mission Australia.

A full list of all the 19 events can be accessed at – https://www.aii.unimelb.edu.au/

Source- aii.unimelb.edu.au

From 13 unis to 1: why Australia needs to reverse the loss of South Asian studies


By Craig Jeffery* & Matthew Nelson**

South Asia is crucial to the future of Australia. But Australia has just one (small) program focused on South Asian studies across its many universities.

This has not always been the case. In the mid-1970s, 13 of Australia’s universities offered undergraduate subjects on South Asia (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives). Students could learn about South Asian coins at ANU and Sanskrit at the University of Wollongong.

Australia boasted some of the leading scholars on South Asia. ANU nurtured subaltern studies – the study of social groups excluded from dominant power structures – which became a global movement in the field of post-colonial analysis. Leading post-colonial scholar Dipesh Chakrabarty was based at the University of Melbourne. Other luminaries active in that period include A.L. Basham, Anthony Low, and Robin Jeffrey.

But, even as the Australian university sector has expanded since the 1970s, it has withdrawn support for Asian studies, and South Asian studies in particular. There is currently only one South Asia or India program – at ANU.

Only five of the 40 Australian universities offer semester-length subjects on India or South Asia. Six universities offered an Indian language in 1996. Now only two do so.

Several universities, often supported by government grants, have launched country or regional research initiatives since 1990. The National Centre for South Asian Studies, based at Monash, is one of these. But Australian universities have not built any strong or sustainable South Asia programs for students.

A trend at odds with national priorities

This point sits oddly alongside a high-level commitment to South Asia in Australia. The Australian government is exploring new forms of engagement with India, including the Quad security dialogue involving India, Australia, Japan, and the US.

At a social level, Australia is increasingly Indian. In 2019 more than 700,000 people in Australia claimed Indian descent. Hindi is among the fastest-growing languages in Australia, and India is the country’s leading source of skilled migrants.

Historically, there are fascinating connections between Australia and South Asia. The lives and work of Australia’s “Ghans” (cameleers) is one famous example.

Moving forward, Australia needs a knowledge base to match this longstanding and increasingly important commitment to India and South Asia more generally.

Out of step with global academic practice

Australian universities could learn from their counterparts in other parts of the world how to integrate area studies into their teaching. Outside of Australia, most of the top universities in the world make great play of their area studies expertise. Area studies enables people to apprehend their own distinctive humanity, anchors innovative cross-disciplinary teaching across the university, and provides a basis for re-evaluating assumptions about a person’s disciplinary field.

Students arriving at Oxford, Yale or Columbia know that if they are studying law, business, art, politics, education, design, technology, anthropology, economics, agriculture, military affairs or modern media, they will need to think about how to apply their disciplinary knowledge to specific places. A “whole of university” commitment to area studies teaching, including South Asian studies, has long been a key mechanism for drawing on multiple disciplines.

Even with small numbers of area studies majors, the world’s best universities do not see area studies as a niche endeavour. On the contrary, they see it as a central feature of their global mission. Strong universities without robust, independent, and widely accessible area studies programs open themselves up to accusations of antiquated parochialism and a poor understanding of the interdisciplinary trends that powerfully shape our world.

What should South Asian studies offer?

Today, South Asian studies programs in Australia should include internships, opportunities to study abroad and virtual classrooms connecting Australian students to their counterparts elsewhere.

Asian studies programs should also include language options, because effective communication with rising regions like South Asia is essential. Keep in mind that only 10% of India’s population speak English.

At its most fundamental, good area studies and good South Asian studies allow people to understand that they are, as French philosopher Michel de Montaigne put it in an essay on global education written 450 years ago “like a dot made by a very fine pencil” on the world map. It teaches them how they fit within a global whole.

Beyond this, area studies helps people understand and confidently engage with forms of difference and diversity. It fosters key skills for interacting with peers overseas as well as global diasporas. This includes connecting with foreign organisations, managing communications and cultivating an active sense of global citizenship.

Area studies allows us to develop an understanding of our common humanity across national boundaries – something Indian scholar Veena Das has written about in her book Critical Events.

Now is the time for Australian universities to place area studies teaching at the core of an internationally engaged education. We must provide a much larger number of Australians with a deeper understanding of South Asia.

* Professor of Geography, The University of Melbourne.

** Associate Professor, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne.

Source – The Conversation, June 14, 2021, Published under Creative Commons Licence.

Australia delivers COVID-19 supplies to India, Nepal and Sri Lanka

Photo- DFAT

By SAT News Desk

PERTH/MELBOURNE, 4 June 2021: An Australian Defence Force C-17A Globemaster aircraft departed Perth this morning, carrying oxygen equipment for India and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Nineteen of India’s 36 states and union territories have already received Australian medical supplies from previous deliveries, including 3000 ventilators and 250 oxygen concentrators. These form part of our $37.1 million package of support for India. Working in partnership with the Indian Government, the Indian Red Cross Society, and local authorities are distributing Australian-donated supplies to people most in need.

A media release from Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister for Women Senator Marise Payne with Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence, Senator Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific says, ” Today’s delivery coincides with the first anniversary of the elevation of our ties with India to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

The C-17A Globemaster will transport an eight-tonne oxygen tank the size of a shipping container, which has been purchased by Indian firm Tata Steel and is used to store and transport medical oxygen in bulk.

This follows the Indian Air Force’s successful humanitarian airlift of other oxygen tanks from Australia on 5 May. The practical value of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has been demonstrated by the effective working relationship and interoperability between the Indian and Australian Defence Forces. PPE, donated by the Western Australian Government and delivered to Nepal and Sri Lanka, will provide essential support to frontline workers.”

“The Morrison Government has already committed $7 million for emergency relief to Nepal, with support to be delivered by trusted on-the-ground partners. We are also contributing $5.5 million for emergency relief in Sri Lanka as it faces its own health and humanitarian challenges,” the release said.

Bill Shorten: We cannot abandon Australians in India, as we didn’t do elsewhere; for vaccine production ‘people before profits’ needed


By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, April 30, 2021: Labor leader Bill Shorten today said, “we cannot abandon Australian’s in India, as we didn’t do elsewhere. They are sitting duck to COVID as the system there is overwhelmed.” Mr. Shorten was talking to the media at his Electorate Office in Moonee Ponds.

BILL SHORTEN’s OPENING REMARKS Media Conference 30 April 2021 (See Video)

He called upon the Scott Morrison government to bring the Australian’s in India home with all the precautions when they are here and extend more material support to India.

Answering a pointed question by South Asia Times (SAT) about the Carona vaccine patent issue, Mr. Shorten said once in a generation we should not just be looking after profits of multinationals and share our knowledge more widely. What we need to do is to put “people before profits”.

BILL SHORTEN ANSWERS TO South Asia Times (SAT) questions (See Video)

About a global response to the Indian situation Mr. Shorten said, ” What happens in one country, is not happening in another country. This does not understand the nature of the virus and how you can beat it. You need to stamp out the virus everywhere.”