Prime Minister Narendra Modi beckons Australian enterprises to invest in sectors such as digital infrastructure, semiconductors, and space technology, underscoring the vast potential of the Indian market.
In an endeavour to strengthen economic ties between India and Australia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday, called upon Australian businesses to explore the burgeoning investment opportunities in India’s diverse sectors. Addressing top Australian CEOs at a round-table in Sydney, Modi highlighted the significance of cross-border cooperation in areas like technology, clean energy, and skill development. This initiative marks India’s commitment to becoming a global hub for foreign direct investment.
Driving Investment in Key Sectors
The Prime Minister underscored the investment opportunities in sectors including digital infrastructure, IT, fintech, telecom, semiconductors, space, renewable energy, green hydrogen, education, pharma, healthcare, medical devices manufacturing, mining, textiles, agriculture, and food processing.
Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, tweeted, “The PM invited them to take advantage of investment opportunities offered by India in domains of infrastructure including digital infrastructure, IT, fintech, telecom, semiconductors, space, renewable energy including green hydrogen, education, pharma, healthcare including medical devices manufacturing, mining including critical minerals, textile, agriculture and food processing.”
Enhancing Ease of Doing Business
PM Modi underscored the significant economic reforms undertaken by his government, aimed at augmenting the ease of doing business. The key steps include reducing the compliance burden, introduction of production-linked incentive (PLI) schemes, and relaxation of foreign direct investment norms.
The Prime Minister highlighted several initiatives launched by the government, including mission Gati Shakti for infrastructure connectivity projects; Jan Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile (JAM) trinity for financial inclusion; National Education Policy for revitalising the education sector; Hydrogen Mission 2050 for clean energy; PLI scheme to boost manufacturing; the opening of private investment in space and geospatial sector; new policy of medical devices manufacturing; and Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme.
Strengthening Bilateral Ties
This strategic invitation for investment follows a series of meetings held by the PM with business leaders from leading Australian companies on May 23. PM Modi is visiting Australia as a guest of the Australian government, and his itinerary includes meetings with the executive chairpersons of Hancock Prospecting and Fortescue Future Industry, and the CEO of AustralianSuper.
During the period between April 2000 and December 2022, India has already received USD 1.07 billion in investments from Australia, per government data. Australia was the 13th largest trading partner of India in 2022-23, with exports standing at USD 6.95 billion, while imports aggregating at USD 19 billion.
The two nations implemented an interim free trade agreement last year, which they are currently expanding into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).
A Win-Win Situation
Australia enjoys a robust trade relationship with India. It is India’s largest export market for gold and chickpeas, the second-largest market for coal and copper ores, and the third-largest market for lead and wool. The key imports from Australia include coal, copper ores, and petroleum.
The Roundtable Discussion
Underpinning the conversation was the shared vision of both countries to enhance bilateral economic cooperation. The roundtable event served as an opportunity for Australian CEOs to engage directly with the Indian administration, understand the Indian market’s potential, and explore prospective business collaborations. Vice Chancellors from some of Australia’s leading Universities also participated in the roundtable, indicating the broader scope of the cooperation sought.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, “The participating CEOs represented leading companies operating across a diverse range of sectors, including steel, banking, energy, mining and IT.” The CEOs who attended included Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Matt Comyn, Rio Tinto’s Kellie Parker, BHP’s Geraldine Slattery, University of Sydney’s Mark Scott, Cochlear’s Dig Howitt, Airtrunk’s Robin Khuda, Quintis Sandalwood’s Richard Henfrey, and Navitas Group’s Scott Jones.
Modi’s agenda was to highlight “numerous economic reforms and initiatives launched by the government for ease of doing business and boosting economic growth.”
Key Initiatives Showcased
Significant among these initiatives were the Mission Gati Shakti for an integrated approach towards infrastructure connectivity projects, the Jan Dhan-Aadhar-Mobile (JAM) trinity for ensuring widespread financial inclusion, the National Education Policy aimed at revamping the education sector, and the Hydrogen Mission 2050 for harnessing green energy sources.
The Prime Minister also highlighted the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme, designed to boost domestic manufacturing and exports, the opening up of the private investment in the domain of space and geospatial sector, the new policy of medical devices manufacturing, and the Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme, aiming to provide free healthcare services to the economically weaker sections.
Aiming for Robust Bilateral Trade
Australia is among India’s significant trade partners, and Modi’s call to Australian businesses is expected to deepen these ties. Despite being the 13th largest trading partner of India in 2022-23, Australia’s exports to India stood at an impressive USD 6.95 billion, while imports aggregated at USD 19 billion.
India’s sizeable market is an enticing prospect for Australian businesses. As per trade statistics, India is Australia’s largest export market for gold and chickpeas, the second-largest market for coal and copper ores, and the third-largest market for lead and wool. Key imports from Australia to India, in turn, include coal, copper ores, and petroleum.
Towards a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement
Both nations are already engaged in talks to expand their interim free trade agreement into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Implemented on December 29 last year, the interim agreement has opened a path for Australian businesses to explore opportunities in the burgeoning Indian market.
In conclusion, Prime Minister Modi’s invitation to Australian enterprises serves as a catalyst to foster economic cooperation and mutual growth. The discussion amplifies India’s commitment to becoming a vibrant hub for foreign investment, while offering Australian businesses an opportunity to tap into India’s vast and diverse market potential.