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Ind-Aus ECTA to focus on research, innovation, tech, manufacturing

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, Piyush Goyal has invited Australian businesses to Make in India and said that the Startups from both nations must engage with each other. He underscored that Australia has fantastic innovations and research and new ideas and India has the talent pool to take these to the world.

Expressing the hope that Investments will flow into India from Australia at a faster pace, he said that Western Australia can be at the forefront of the expanding relationship between the two nations.

“The proximity between the region and India provides an opportunity for much deeper economic engagement,” said Goyal, addressing the gathering at the Business Luncheon hosted by Deputy Premier Roger Cook in Perth, today

Speaking of India’s bid to build strategic partnerships, the Minister said that India has become a part of QUAD and the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI). Referring to the disturbances that afflicted some parts of the world, Goyal asserted that two strong democracies, two friends working together for shared prosperity, trusting each other, believing in each other would send a strong message of unity, a message of ‘ekta’ to the world.

“Together we will make our geopolitical presence stronger and work to maintain the Indo-Pacific area as a region of peace, prosperity, stability, tranquility and growth,” he said.

Goyal said that that the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (Ind-Aus ECTA) will take relationships between the nations to greater heights and added that the spirit of cooperation and friendship with which the negotiations happened was truly remarkable.

Outlining areas of focus under the agreement such as education, research, innovation, technology, manufacturing etc, the Minister called for deepening engagements in areas such as the space sector and sustainability.

Commenting that despite challenging times, the relations with two nations were only getting better and better, he expressed his gratitude to Australians for the love and care they bestowed on every Person of Indian Origin who had made Australia their home. This truly defined the brotherhood between the two nations, he said.

Speaking of the fruitful engagements he had during his tour, the Minister quoted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that ‘this EKTA (ECTA) is a watershed moment for our bilateral relations and our economies have great potentials to meet each other’s needs’. He opined that the Prime Minister’s vision clearly reflected the complementarity between our two economies.

The Minister termed the agreement as an important milestone which will contribute to development of many multi-sectoral relationships. “This is but one step in a long journey and I hope that this journey will not be just a trot but a marathon,” he said.

Stating that the Ind-Aus ECTA is a very balanced and fair, equitable agreement that provided opportunities for all, Goyal said that with ECTA, it is possible to take bilateral trade between the two nations to USD 100 billion by 2030. The Minister emphasized that India has a large aspiring population looking for a better quality of life and hoping to experience the prosperity that a large part of the world enjoys. This is an opportunity knocking at the doors of Australia, he said.

“We must continue working together, all the while respecting each other’s sensitivities, positions in terms of levels of prosperity, market size etc,” he said.

Speaking of the initial bilateral trade target of USD 45 billion set under the agreement, Goyal said that after engaging with the businesses and the community of Australia during the visit and getting a sense of the immense opportunities for economic cooperation, he is confident of achieving the enhanced target.

Goyal stressed that this relationship comes very naturally to Indians and Australians who have always been natural partners. He reminded that at one point in time, the two nations were geographically contiguous. Both India and Australia are members of the Commonwealth, vibrant democracies who are committed to the rule of law, transparent governments, he said. He also quipped about the shared love for cricket which brought the two nations closer together.

Goyal said that Indian and Australian economies hardly compete with each other and added that the two economies complemented each other beautifully. Citing a few examples of this complementarity, the Minister said that Australian sheep wool woven to fabric or apparel in India, will make an excellent offering to the world and that Australia can benefit from the immense talent and skills of the Indian population, especially the youth. Observing that Australia has been a provider of raw materials and intermediate products to large parts of the world, the Minister said that India could convert these to finished products using its vast, skilled labor force and serve the world.

Later, delivering the Keynote address at the Tourism event in Perth, Goyal said that education should be one of the key focus areas in the partnership between India and Australia. He called for further mutual recognition of each other’s education systems, efforts to take technology to students on both sides of the ocean and exploring ways to have dual degrees.

The Minister also said that the ECTA has received huge traction and support among the people and media in both nations. Referring to Australia’s competitive advantage in rare earth minerals, the Minister said that this will be absolutely crucial in the times to come because they can help technology flourish and create millions of jobs, particularly in a country like India with a vast, young skilled population aspiring for a better future.

Referring to WACA ground as the Mecca of cricket, the Minister said that though India and Australia competed fiercely in cricket but the love for the game in fact brought the two nations together. He observed that cricket brought the people of the two nations closer and unless people came together, businesses cannot prosper. At one level, leaders are committed to the relationship. But the subtext is that people work together, trust each other and enjoy the friendship that comes with the union, he said.

CT Bureau

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