India is very important to us, says Harinder Sidhu
DNA, January 28, 2019

Australian high commissioner to India, Harinder Sidhu was on a visit to Jaipur. During her stay over the weekend, she met the chief minister, trade representatives and attended the literature festival.
During her visit, the Australian high commissioner sought for a higher level of cooperation and association between Rajasthan and India at large. 

Addressing a gathering hosted by Rajasthan chapter of CUTS international, she expressed upon her country’s desire to improve trade and strategic ties with India.

Talking to DNA on sidelines, she explained upon the need of ‘mini-lateral ties’ between the two countries.

What benefits these mini lateral ties?
Its a relatively new diplomatic term, ‘mini-lateral’ ties are relatively smaller groups of 3 or more nations, like India-Australia-Vietnam or India-Australia-Japan. It helps to improve upon exchange between the countries that share common trade and strategic needs.

India is an important partner and is in the first tier of our relationship.

How important is India for Australia and the relations between the two countries?
India is very important to us,that reflects in Verghese report and India Economic Strategy. The ties have got strengthened over past decade. In 2014, when prime minister Narendra Modi visited Australia, it was after a gap of 26 years that an Indian prime minister has visited the country.

We are in Jaipur, its a sister city to Adelaide of South Australia. There is already a level of cooperation, what does the new policy change?
Such associations are important, however, with the new policy we also want to expand the perspective for Australia beyond just South Australia. We want the people of India to see the opportunities for trade and association with all of the Australia.

How does the new policy envisages to improve ties?
Australia remains to support open global market.

However, as the India Strategy we have selected 10 states and 10 priority sectors for improvement of trade ties.

The selection has been based on parameters of ease of doing business and other economic possibilities in the states.

Its not that the others states are not on our list, efforts will be made in the regions in niche sectors.

We also have offices of “Austrade” in several cities of India including Jaipur which assist trade ties. Among the priority sectors, education is one, Australia is the second most preferred education destination for Indian students.

Even as Rajasthan has not been among the list of priority states, Australian high commissioner explored upon possibilities in niche sectors. Sidhu sought for a higher cooperation between Rajasthan and Australia on water management and skill development during her discussion with chief minister Ashok Gehlot.

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