The recent launch of the India Economic Strategy to 2035 (#IES2035) report by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is singularly a milestone event in the Australia-India relationship, where India is clearly positioned as a Tier One partner for Australia.
The report was authored by Mr Peter Varghese AO, former Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of University of Queensland and is one of the most exhaustive analyses and insights on how to grow the India Economic relationship.
The importance of people to people links
The report outlines a three pillar approach to the Australia-India economic relationship – economics, geopolitics and people. The third pillar of the relationship – our growing people to people links – may over time prove to be the most significant asset of all.
India is currently our largest source of skilled migrants, our second largest source of international students, and a substantial proportion of those who come to Australia under temporary visas to fill skilled positions that Australians cannot.
In the last decade we have seen a very large increase in the size of the Indian diaspora in Australia, now 700,000 strong and the fastest growing large diaspora in Australia. To reach this size in a little over a decade is remarkable.
The report rightfully states that this diaspora will have a big role to play in the partnership of the future. They can go into the nooks and crannies of a relationship where governments cannot. They can shape perceptions in ways governments cannot. And they create personal links – in business, the arts, education, and civil society which can help anchor the relationship.
The Indian diaspora globally
India has the largest diaspora population in the world, with over 13 million Indians living outside the country and 17 million people of Indian origin spread across 146 countries.
The Indian diaspora in the US, UK and Canada have emerged as powerful economic players in their own right and have contributed majorly to strengthening the economic relationship with India.
Each of these countries attracted high quality migrants through the education route. Several of them stayed on to contribute to ground-breaking researches and innovations in their new countries of adoption.
The Indian government have over the years encouraged the global Indian diaspora to come together through the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas conferences, also known as non-resident Indian conferences held in India and more recently in other countries too.
These conferences are an amazing platform for connectivity and for doing more business globally. At the last conference that I attended in Bangalore, India, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi appreciated the contribution of the global Indian diaspora and called them a Brain Gain for India not a Brain Drain.
By keeping connected with India and their countries of adoption, they were able to bring the best of innovation, creativity, hard work and technology to both the countries. In fact, according to PM Modi, they are the best brand ambassadors that India has.
The Indian diaspora in Australia – driving Australian entrepreneurship
The #IES2035 report clearly outlines the opportunity that the Indian diaspora can play in Australia’s entrepreneurial journey. Australia’s Indian diaspora shows the same entrepreneurial spirit demonstrated elsewhere. Between 2006 and 2011, businesses owned by Australia’s India-born population rose by 72 per cent, compared with a 40 per cent increase for those born in China.
The Indian diaspora is recognised for contributing to innovation and entrepreneurship, competition, economic growth and job creation in the US, Canada and UK. The story will be no different in Australia.
The #IES2035 will assist in enabling more investments between the two countries. The number of businesses and entrepreneurial start-ups by Australian Indians will grow exponentially and certainly change the dynamics of business innovation and growth in Australia.
Written by Sheba Nandkeolyar
Sheba was a member of the reference group for this report. She was consulted in her capacity as a Board Member of Australia India Council and Chair of Australia India Business Council. Her experience as Co-Founder and CEO of the leading diaspora marketing agency – MultiConnexions contributed majorly to her understanding of the bi-lateral trade relationship and diaspora insights.
Source – DFAT – India Economic Strategy to 2035 report
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