During his visit to Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with business leaders from top Australian companies to discuss cooperation and opportunities for growth.
Among the topics emphasised were technology, skilling, and clean energy. One of the companies represented was Fortescue Future Industries, an Australia-based green energy and technology firm. John Andrew Henry Forrest, the company’s executive chairman, expressed his admiration for Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to green hydrogen, stating, “…PM is clearly a global champion…to promote green hydrogen across the world.”
Prime Minister Modi welcomed the plans of Fortescue Future Industries to collaborate with Indian companies in the field of Green Hydrogen, aligning with India’s ambitious renewable energy plans. The discussions centred around transformative reforms and initiatives such as the Green Hydrogen Mission.
Both Prime Minister Modi and John Andrew Henry Forrest agreed on the limited lifespan of the fossil fuel sector and the need to replace it with a fuel that causes no harm but can perform the functions of coal, oil, and gas.
Georgina Hope Rinehart, the executive chairman of Hancock Prospecting, highlighted the immense potential for business ties between Australia and India, acknowledging India’s impressive economic growth under Prime Minister Modi. She stated, “Australia really needs to work harder to develop its relations with India.”
Georgina Hope Rinehart emphasised the vast business opportunities between India and Australia, commending India’s growing economy and its plans to reach USD 32 trillion in the next 25 years.
“In the last five years under Modi, your economy has grown to USD 3.5 trillion and the plans for the next 25 years, for your country, to grow to is USD 32 trillion,” she said, adding, “So, the growth recently has been huge. The growth in the future is going to be huge.”
She emphasised the need for Australia to strengthen its relations with India and acknowledged India’s efforts to attract foreign investments by reducing approvals and regulations. “You’re destined to look at the investments that have flowed into India and I think it’s from 60 different countries,” she added.
Additionally, Paul Schroder, the CEO of AustralianSuper, an Australian superannuation fund, expressed interest in partnering with India, recognising it as one of the most preferred major economies for foreign investments.
India and Australia to strengthen trade relations
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed optimism about the growth of bilateral trade between India and Australia during his visit to the country.
The interim free trade agreement between the two nations, implemented in December 2021, is now being expanded into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). India is Australia’s largest export market for gold and chickpeas, the second-largest for coal and copper ores, and the third-largest for lead and wool.
Modi highlighted the ongoing efforts to establish a CECA and expected the two-way trade to double in the next five years. The Prime Minister emphasised the importance of building a resilient and reliable supply chain, stating that it would benefit both nations’ businesses.
Speaking at a community event in Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena, PM Modi highlighted the increased air connectivity between India and Australia and anticipated further expansion in the number of flights. Australia currently ranks as India’s 13th largest trading partner, with exports reaching USD 6.95 billion and imports totalling USD 19 billion in the previous fiscal year.
The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) is the first trade agreement that India has signed with a developed country in over a decade. It establishes an institutional mechanism to promote and enhance trade relations between the two nations.
Government data revealed that from April 2000 to December 2022, India received USD 1.07 billion in investments from Australia, further highlighting the potential for economic collaboration between the two nations.