New Delhi– Australia’s long-term economic strategy for India is one of the three pillars on which the bilateral relationship should rest, the other two being geopolitical congruence and people to people contacts, former Australian High Commissioner to India Peter Varghese said on Monday.

Speaking at a panel discussion here on the report titled “An India Economic Strategy to 2035” authored by him, Varghese also noted that while comparison with China gets in the way of understanding India, Indian growth will be driven by consumption and services sector and that its drivers of growth are “deeply structural and so highly sustainable”.

The report, commissioned by Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and released here earlier this month, recommends that Australia should target to make India among its top three export markets and the third largest destination in Asia for the country’s outbound investment.

The economic strategy for 2035 report said Australia should seek to increase exports to India from the current level of $14.9 billion to around $45 billion in the next 20 years, and raise outward investment to India from $10.3 billion to over $100 billion.

The report also noted that in order to achieve this transformation in the relationship, the Australian government would need to have a sharper focus on India, an unambiguous commitment by Australian business and a deeper understanding of the rapidly developing Indian market.

“They (Australia) will also require an approach to the investment relationship with India that markedly differs from the trajectory of Australian investment in most other Asian markets,” the report said.

The report has identified 10 sectors where Australia’s competitive advantages can serve Indian needs, and 10 states in India where Australia should focus its efforts.

It also said no single market would offer more growth opportunities for Australia than India over the next 20 years. (IANS)

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