Australia is right partner for India: Austrade CEO

Australia is the right partner for India to meet its energy and food security goals, including upgradation of its infrastructure through infusion of investment, technology and collaborations, Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) CEO Bruce Gosper has said.

Talking to The Hindu , Mr. Gosper said there was a desire to take the economic engagement to a new level.

“Indian companies such as GVK, Gujarat NRE and the Adani group have already made huge long-term investments in energy and resources in Australia. The Gorgon LNG project will start supplying 1.5 million tonnes of LNG to India by 2015. Coal exports to India, which stood at 31 million tonnes last year, are bound to go up in the coming years.

Talks on collaboration in uranium supply between the two countries are already on,” he said.

At present, India is the eighth largest trading partner of Australia , he added. Mr. Gosper said the food security concerns of India could be addressed by Australia. “We have the capacity to supply agricultural products. We (Australia) can chip in the latest technology and forge a professional partnership in giving a modern edge to agriculture in India,’’ he added.

Focussed approach

Building an economic relationship with India would form part of his focussed approach, Mr. Gosper said, adding that both countries could do much better in this regard. “Our companies are already engaged in building infrastructure projects in India. We can have investments in the construction and port sectors through public private parrtnership(PPP) mode. Austrade has 11 offices in India and its effort is directed towards facilitating development of trade and collaboration between companies and governments,’’ he said.

Welcoming the various reforms, including those in the financial sector, Mr. Gosper said India was recognising the bottlenecks in the path of development, and was resolving those issues. “The reforms have been a long standing demand of the Australian government and companies,” he said.

Fifth round

“Negotiations on the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) are progressing well and the fifth round is scheduled to be held in May.

The services sector will be the focus of the negotiations during this round. We are hopeful of a positive outcome from these negotiations which will take the trade relationship to a new level,” he stated.