Australia will be a reliable provider of coal, uranium, gas and renewable energy technology to ensure India has energy security as it grows into a regional power, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull today said on the eve of his first visit to New Delhi. “India is undergoing a dramatic economic transformation and our close partnership creates opportunities for both nations,” 62-year-old Turnbull said in a speech at the Sydney Institute. He will arrive in New Delhi on Sunday on a four-day visit to India on the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Turnbull, who became Australia’s Prime Minister on September 15, 2015, said his first visit to India as Prime Minister is a chance to further co-operate across a wide range of sectors including energy, education and trade.
“But there are many more opportunities. India wants to provide energy security through a range of technologies, including nuclear, clean coal, natural gas and renewable energy. Australia is well placed to provide many of the raw materials, and some of the latest technology,” he said. Turnbull said he will discuss with Prime Minister Modi the “enormous opportunities” for collaboration in areas like trade and security. “With converging political, economic and strategic interests, we will use the meeting to strengthen our relationship even further for the benefit of both nations.” India is the world’s fastest growing major economy. Two-way trade exceeded 19 billion dollars in 2015-16. The two countries are currently looking to seal a free trade agreement. There have been nine rounds of negotiations since discussions began in 2011, with the most recent in 2015.
Noting that “alongside China, India is a land of immense opportunity for Australia”, Turnbull said, “With a growth rate at more than 7 per cent annually, the Indian economy could be as large as that of the United States by 2050.” He said his meetings with leading Indian CEOs and business people in Mumbai will focus on growing two-way trade and investment. Turnbull said Australian energy and resources are helping to power India’s growth, while the two countries collaboration on innovation and technology will open new business opportunities in the future. “We want Australian businesses to aspire not just to a local market of 24 million Australians, but to a worldwide market of 7.4 billion people… Labor, by contrast, cannot point to one policy which would encourage a business to invest an extra dollar or employ an extra worker,” he said.
Turnbull, who will be accompanied by Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham, highlighted the opportunity for Australian universities to provide education services to some of the 400 million people the Indian government wants to train by 2022. “With the Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, I will address a dinner to celebrate our partnership in education, recognising how Australian expertise in skills training can help India to meet its goal of training 400 million people by 2022,” Turnbull said. Turnbull also highlighted the vibrant Indian community which he said was making a significant contribution to the fabric of Australia’s multicultural society. “It provides a vital bridge between our two countries, and this visit will ensure that the ties between India and Australia become even stronger,” he said.