Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has used a meeting with visiting President Ram Nath Kovind to endorse a blueprint that aims to reboot trade and investment relations between the two countries.
In his keynote speech to The Australian Financial Review India Business Summit, Morrison outlined plans to develop India into one of Australia’s top trading partners, leveraging on a focused attention to key sectors starting with education, resources, tourism and agriculture.
The blueprint has been drawn up from a report by former Australian diplomat Peter Varghese on how Australia can ramp up economic and security engagements with India. The report sets targets for Australian exports and outward investment to India, to triple and increase tenfold, respectively, by 2035 but it was released in a low key manner four months ago. Canberra has now thrown its weight behind the report by officially endorsing it and put it into the implementation stage.
India’s and Australia’s merchandise trade stood at A$ 20,856 million (approximately Rs 1.08 lakh crore) during 2017, with Australia being the ninth principal import source of India. The biggest component of merchandise trade during the year has been coal – worth A$9,181 million (approximately Rs 47,400 crore).
On the other hand, Australia is 22nd principal export destination for India, with most of it coming from refined petroleum (A$1,554 million or about Rs 8,020 crore).