Melbourne: Describing India as “natural partner”, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said that her country was seeking to elevate its status with India to ‘Best partner in business’ from business partners.
“Australia and India are most certainly ‘Partners in Business’ but natural partners across the board. The Coalition Government is seeking to elevate Australia to the status of India’s ‘best partner in business’,” Bishop told a gathering of high-profile business leaders and attendees at Australia India Business Council (AIBC) in Sydney recently.
“Sure, we have a healthy trade relationship – two-way trade was valued at more than 15 billion dollars last year – but we can do better than that. At the end of last year, Indian investment in Australia was about 11 billion dollars but this Government is determined to make it easier for India to investors to invest in this country,” she said.
Lauding the AIBC for its commitment to forge and foster ties between the two sides, Bishop said: “one of the common refrains about the bilateral relationship is that it is one of great potential but never quite realized.”
However, she said the relationship was now on move which was unstoppable with the two new governments which were both committed to economic reform and open for business.
Bishop said that Australian government was looking forward to the two major meetings between the two Prime Ministers – Tony Abbot and Narendra Modi – later this year.
Abbott is said to visit India next month while Modi is expected to attend G20 meet this November in Brisbane.
“We’re going to see our two action men, our two action Prime Ministers together on the world stage very shortly. They both have ambitious infrastructure agendas and with so much in common between our two leaders, we recognise the opportunity to broaden and deepen what is a strong relationship but could be far stronger,” Bishop said.
“A surging Indian economy, Australia as a provider of resources and energy and the services that a dynamic India will require, we are natural partners,” she said while reiterating that her government was hoping to take the ties with India to a new and higher level.
“While Australia has traditionally defined our place in the world, as the Asia Pacific, this Government now looks west to encompass India as a crucial part of our region,” she said.
Bishop is set to visit India to attend the next Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue later this year.