It is sometimes joked that India and Australia are bound by the “three C’s” of cricket, curry and the Commonwealth.
Yet there’s a lot more to bilateral ties than just that. In fact, Australia’s trade relationship with India goes back centuries.
Its first commercial-scale export, for example, is thought to have been coal shipped from Newcastle, north of Sydney, to the sub-continent in 1799, and goods exported from India helped support the Australian colonies in their precarious early years.
Today Australia and India are two of the world’s largest economies (India ranked 7th and Australia ranked 13th by IMF) and they are finding new areas of common interest collaboration.
Trade has grown solidly over the past decade to about $21billion a year in two-way goods and services exports and $24 billion in two-way investment.
In 2016, India was Australia’s sixth-biggest export market, comprising nearly $15 billion in goods and services. And Australia is an important part of India’s energy and food security, with Australia’s biggest merchandise exports including coal, chickpeas and copper.
Australia is one of the world’s most efficient food producers and its agricultural technology and expertise is generating strong interest as India looks to increase the productivity of its own food sector.
Meanwhile Australian design, planning, transport, water solutions and building technology can help improve living standards for India’s increasingly urbanised population.
Close to 70,000 Indians studied in Australia last year, making Australia one of the top international destinations for Indian students.
Now Australian universities are seeking to grow Masters and PhD candidate exchanges via stronger university-to-university partnerships, as well as work with India’s corporate sector to support R&D collaboration and technology commercialisation.
Australia’s world-leading health and medical technology companies are also looking to form strategic partnerships, joint research and accelerated product development with Indian counterparts.
These were some of the opportunities highlighted when Australia’s Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo toured India recently, heading a team of 160 Australian businesses as part of Australia Business Week in India (ABWI) 2017.
Mr Ciobo said the Australian Government was developing a special India Economic Strategy, reflecting the high priority it placed on closer commercial ties with the country.
“Australia is undertaking the analysis to identify where our businesses should be India’s partner of choice on this journey,” Mr Ciobo said.
“More than that, we believe there is a complementarity to our economies that will emerge increasingly as India’s reform program rolls out and the pace of its modernisation intensifies.”
To mark that visit, the Australian Trade & Investment Commission, Australian Government in partnership with India’s premier business channel, CNBC-TV18 have developed a show, a special three-part series titled “Australia India Unlimited Opportunities” that will showcase the depth of business ties between India and Australia. The crux of the show is based on how academia and businesses from Australia are working with Indian counterparts on a range of verticals.
The series presents a clutch of special stories to highlight the ties, like how Australian scientific expertise is helping Indian scientist produce high-grade wheat through innovative germ-plasm exchange. Or how Victoria University in association with Punjab Institute of Sports is helping train athletes that will win laurels for India in the future.
There is a feature on how Monash University is collaborating with IIT-Bombay to find a permanent cure for the debilitating Parkinson’s disease through stem cell research.
On the social side, there’s a story of how CQUniversity of Australia is helping street children from the Salaam Baalak Trust through scholarship programs and employment as city-tour guides in Delhi.
And in a special segment Australian Master Chef Sarah Todd whips up some interesting culinary delights accompanied by Minister Steven Ciobo.
Over lamb vindaloo and vermicelli kheer with Australian macadamias and blueberries, they discuss interesting connections between the two nations.
These are the kinds of links the new series on CNBC-TV18 seeks to highlight and celebrate through the mini-series “Australia India Unlimited Opportunities”. Catch the same exclusively aired on CNBC-TV18 and CNN-News18.