A special session themed “New perspectives of Trade and Investment Between India and Australia ” was organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata recently to boost bilateral trade & investment manifold . Andrew Ford, Consul General of Australia in Kolkata, addressed the Special Session presenting Australia’s India focused Economic strategy titled ” An India Economic Strategy to 2035 ” This was the first time the Consul General addressed any Chamber in Kolkata, since opening of the Consulate in the city a few months ago and his assuming the . Andrew Ford emphasised that Australia considers India to be the top country for deepening and strengthening its International Partnership and West Bengal is one of the ten priority states with which it wants to forge an ‘economic link’. Ford mentioned Australia’ s India economic strategy focuses on ten states namely , Andhra Pradesh , Gujarat , Karnataka , Maharashtra , National Capital Region -Delhi , Punjab , Tamil Nadu , Telengana , Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal and also focuses on 10 priority sectors including Education, Tourism, Health care, Financial Services , Mining. Infrastructure and Sport.The most ambitious goal of the Strategy is to have Australian investment in India rise to over $A100 billion by 2035. Current investment levels in India are valued at $A15 billion in 2017 (requires a 7 fold increase). The target is ambitious but achievable – Australia has the world’s 6th largest pool of investment funds under management (US$2.1 trillion), Ford added. Ford stated that Australia is the second wealthiest country in the world after Switzerland and is placed high in the global ranking of ‘ease of doing businesses. He further stated that India too needs to prepare a Strategy and for this purpose. Indian Government is being approached in Delhi, he added. In his Welcome Address, Sitaram Sharma, President of the Chamber, highlighted the potential of fostering collaboration and innovation in the mining industry. Sharma also observed that there is great scope for collaboration between the two countries in agriculture, food processing, education, healthcare, hospitality, sport , defence production , maritime ,and in new sunrise sectors . Sharma emphasised on new opportunities of cooperation on formation of new regional trade bloc – The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) . Sharma mentioned Australia- India partnership is going to be of .significant importance since India , China , ASEAN countries, Australia and New Zealand constitute the RCEP which effectively shaping the economic architecture for the Indo-Pacific .
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