Indo-Australia Relations

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by Singh, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Indo-Australia Relations Thread

    Rudd fails to court New Delhi


    ON November 24, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be welcomed as the first state visitor of Barack Obama's presidency. Meanwhile, Asian capitals such as Tokyo, Jakarta, Singapore and Hanoi have been busy courting New Delhi, with impressive results. The weakest link in Delhi's growing network with centres of influence in the region is with Canberra.

    If Australia wants to remain an active, relevant and influential middle power in Asia, then spending the next half decade improving our bilateral relationship with countries such as India is much more important and a better use of finite time, resources and energy than the nice-sounding but premature idea of an Asia-Pacific community. Indeed, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd needs to latch on fast to the prospect that a rising India could be the swing factor in this so-called Asian century.

    Although India began its reform program more than 10 years after China, its economy too has been growing at 7 per cent to 8 per cent a year since reforms began in 1991. What's more, in important respects India's economic prospects appear more favourable. Unlike China, whose population is ageing, more than half of India's population is under 25. If reforms continue, India will reap a significant demographic dividend well past the middle of this century. Already, India has a vibrant and thriving middle class of 300 million people, compared with 50 million to 100 million in China. This means it has a critical mass of people generating economic resources needed to entrench New Delhi's status as not just a South Asian colossus but a leading centre of power in Asia as a whole.

    However, it is not just about economic opportunities. When it comes to meeting the challenge of China's rise, for the US and most of the region it is better to first bulk up bilateral security relationships before moving towards building elaborate and inclusive multilateral security institutions. Multilateral institutions in the region have always played a role in improving diplomatic interaction and reducing misunderstanding, as well as promoting norms of acceptable behaviour.

    This has helped ensure that Beijing's diplomacy and behaviour have so far been socialised. But its ambitions - such as its claim over four-fifths of the South China Sea and its desire to eventually exercise leadership in Asia - have not, and are unlikely to change.

    This is explicit in six decades of Chinese foreign policy and defence pronouncements. Therefore, deepening bilateral security relationships in order to subtly but strategically encircle Beijing provides the ultimate guarantee against Chinese mischief even as the region cautiously welcomes China's rise. It is the dual strategy of an iron fist in the velvet glove of regional diplomacy.

    This is where India comes in. The rise of India is neither feared nor resisted by any Asian state except China. Indeed, New Delhi has been warily balancing and competing against Beijing from the moment of India's creation in 1947 and increasingly so after their war in 1962. Even now, a low-level conflict is simmering in the disputed Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, a land mass more than twice the size of Switzerland. China's nuclear weapons stationed on the neighbouring Tibetan Plateau are frighteningly real for India. India is the only country not covered by China's no-first-use nuclear policy.

    New Delhi and the rest of Asia are carefully watching Beijing's naval build-up in the Indian Ocean, as it far exceeds what is needed to prevent Taiwanese secession, the official reason given in Beijing's defence white paper. Although Pakistan is on India's immediate radar, China is the clear strategic competitor.

    This explains the immense American and regional strategic interest in courting India. The Indian Navy already conducts extensive exercises with Washington and Jakarta, and increasingly with Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Hanoi. Some of these joint exercises include anti-submarine manoeuvres, with a clear eye on China's growing submarine fleet. India is looking to co-operate with the US in building a ballistic missile defence system in Asia. Planned arms sales from the US to India are estimated to reach $US50 billion in the next few decades, meaning the Indian military is moving away from its traditional reliance on Moscow.

    To be sure, Australia has belatedly caught on to the importance of India. Julia Gillard and Stephen Smith have both recently returned from New Delhi and the latter formally requested that Australia be allowed to join the annual Malabar naval exercises conducted by the US and Indian navies. Rudd will visit Singh in New Delhi this month.

    But this is still too little even if it is not too late. It is a matter of ranking strategic and diplomatic priorities. The Rudd government's strategic policy and diplomatic activity should genuinely treat India as a great power rather than offer only lip-service to the argument that it is one. India is still treated as a sizeable but strategic afterthought by the government.

    Before rushing to build new security multilateral institutions, Canberra needs to do the hard graft of building strong bilateral relationships with centres of power such as New Delhi. Doing so is the best approach, not just for managing China's rise but for ensuring that Australia remains relevant, active and influential in Asia, rather than on its sidelines.

    John Lee is a foreign policy fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. His paper, The Importance of India: Restoring Sight to Australia's Strategic Blind Spot, was released today.

    Rudd fails to court New Delhi | The Australian
     
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  3. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    New India wants respect


    THE flurry of visits by federal ministers and state premiers to India clearly demonstrates that Australia is giving the bilateral relationship more priority than ever before.

    However, many of these visits have appeared reactive - exercises in damage control following the Indian student crisis. Our relationship with India tends to be marked by sporadic bursts of crisis-driven activity, followed by prolonged lulls thereafter.

    The problem may well be an over-familiarity that leads each country to take the other for granted. We invariably talk about all the things we have in common, but seldom focus on our differences, leaving a huge gulf in understanding on several important matters. Little wonder that the relationship is frequently stressed to breaking point over single issues, which a stronger, strategic friendship would have taken in its stride.

    The heightened awareness of each other, a fortuitous consequence of the student imbroglio, gives Kevin Rudd an unprecedented opportunity to take the relationship to a new level during his forthcoming visit to India.

    While both sides will need to make special and sustained efforts to build stronger ties, it is in Australia's interest to take the lead. Without discounting Australia's importance, especially our abundant mineral resources, to India, we must appreciate this assessment of the August report of the parliamentary committee inquiry into Australia's relationship with India: "As an emerging world power, India will often have its focus elsewhere. Australia is a relatively small country - to gain India's attention, it must work hard on a number of fronts."

    Another compelling reason for us to make a special effort is that India is fast becoming our biggest supplier of skilled human resources. To attract its best and brightest, we will have to win their minds and hearts.

    Rudd's 2020 Summit also emphasised India's rising importance. The stream I was part of - Australia's future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world - strongly recommended the "engagement of major regional economies: US, Japan, China, India", probably the first time a high-level public forum grouped India with the countries that dominate Australia's foreign policy focus.

    To translate this recommendation into reality, we have to play catch-up, benchmarking our links with India against those we have already forged with the US, Japan and China.

    This would prompt us to accelerate our free trade agreement negotiations with India and to institute a bilateral dialogue along the lines of the highly successful Australia America Leadership Dialogue.

    The India we are now faced with is a new, confident and assertive country, one which expects to be recognised as a major power in its own right. New India, above all, wants respect. This can make it very sensitive and quick to react, or even overreact, to perceived slights or inappropriate treatment of its citizens, as was so evident in the Indian media's coverage of the student issue.

    It also expects to be treated seriously. Our image in India will benefit if we display more gravitas and resist the traditional compulsory references to superficialities such as cricket, curry and Bollywood. We should also approach India with openness and honesty. On sensitive issues such as racism, we should avoid our usual reaction of denial. Acknowledging that, like every country, including India, we are not free of racist behaviour, will give us credibility when we rightly take credit for our non-discriminatory immigration policy, our transformation from White to Multicultural Australia, the thousands of students who have received a good education here and the burgeoning number of Indians who happily call Australia home.

    Fortunately, Australia has an excellent record on many policy issues of interest to India. This is well understood and appreciated by the Indian government. Sadly, it is largely unrecognised by the Indian media and Indian community in both Australia and India. We have a selling job to do. For example, Australia's ban on uranium exports to India receives a lot of coverage. But the courageous statesmanship shown by the Rudd government in supporting a resolution allowing other Nuclear Suppliers Group members to engage in nuclear trade with India is rarely mentioned. Similarly, the recent tightening of some aspects of the 457 visa regulations should not detract from the fact that we still have the world's most liberal temporary business entry regime.

    Another image-building imperative is to make Indians aware that we excel at much more than sports alone. Our amazing record of 11 Nobel laureates, 10 recognised for achievements in science and medicine, should be trumpeted as clear evidence that we are a modern, sophisticated and technologically advanced nation, making Australia an excellent choice for study and collaborative research.

    Rudd should also highlight the establishment of the Australia-India Institute, another 2020 Summit recommendation, as evidence of Australia's commitment to develop a deeper understanding of what is one of the world's most complex and diverse countries. He would do well to announce some complementary initiatives, such as fellowships to attract eminent scholars from India to the institute and appropriate funding to enable schools to teach Hindi in normal school hours, fixing a glaring gap in our education system.

    Given the imminent Copenhagen Conference, the visit to India is an ideal opportunity for Rudd to promote his climate change agenda. This will provide a positive context for the inevitable discussion on uranium exports. Confirmation by India of its willingness to set emission targets, albeit on a non-binding basis, could encourage a review of ALP policy on this issue, especially as India has an impeccable record of abiding by the spirit of the Non-Proliferation Treaty even though its security imperatives prevent it from being a signatory.

    Of course, there are many policy issues on which Australia and India will have legitimate differences. This is only to be expected between countries that have different histories, economies, societies and strategic challenges. Our friendship should be strong enough to allow us to work through our differences and, occasionally, agree to disagree.

    Finally, it would be a good sign that India is moving towards treating Australia as significant partner, if our Prime Minister secures a reciprocal visit by Manmohan Singh. It's a sobering thought that the last Indian PM to visit our shores was Rajiv Gandhi in 1986.

    Neville Roach AO is chairman emeritus of the Australia India Business Council and has recently been appointed to the Indian Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council of Overseas Indians.

    New India wants respect | The Australian
     
  4. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Stephen Smith aims for India war game


    THE Rudd government is pushing to rebuild its defence ties with India, risking the potential ire of China by formally requesting Australia be allowed to participate in the annual India-US joint naval exercise Malabar.

    Visiting Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said yesterday he had discussed the possibility of Australia rejoining the massive war games exercise during his meeting with his Indian counterpart, S.M. Krishna, this week.

    He also invited India to participate in multilateral Australian Defence Force-hosted exercises Kakadu and Pitch Black.

    "I said it would be a good thing if we joined that, just as we host a couple of multilateral exercises in Australia - Kakadu and Pitch Black. He said he would get back to us on that," Mr Smith told The Australian in New Delhi yesterday.

    "We would like to see a memorandum of understanding to institutionalise the defence contact we have."

    Mr Smith said that while Australia enjoyed a good defence, security and counter-terrorism relationship with India, the Rudd government was keen to enhance that. The Royal Australian Navy did send several frigates to the Malabar 2007 exercises, which that year also involved Singapore and Japan.

    But analysts say the Australian government was concerned its participation in an exercise obviously intended by the US to be a foil to China's strategic military might could offend one of our largest trading partners.

    The push to rejoin the Malabar exercises comes in the wake of the Rudd government's controversial defence white paper, which called for a build-up of naval capacity and appeared to suggest Australian defence strategy in coming decades would be shaped by China's military expansion.

    Australian Strategic Policy Institute defence analyst Raspal Khosa said while rejoining Malabar was a sensitive issue, "we also want to develop and expand our military relationship with the Indians".

    However "the sticking point from the Indian perspective will be uranium".

    "They look to us to provide them with commodities and energy and uranium is really at the front of their minds when they do engage with Australia," Mr Khosa said.

    "They want an assured supply and they will use that certainly as leverage on things like allowing us to participate in the Malabar exercise."

    Australia's defence relationship with India suffered after India's 1998 nuclear weapons tests, which drew loud criticism from the Howard government.

    Australia withdrew its defence attaches from both Pakistan and India.

    The relationship was also damaged by an incident in the Indian Ocean in which an Australian Orion aircraft in 1997 buzzed INS Delhi, the pride of India's naval fleet, as it headed into Southeast Asian waters.

    The push to mend defence fences with India comes as the federal government also attempts to repair damage to the Indian-Australian relationship caused by a series of attacks on Indian students in Australia.

    Mr Smith said yesterday that while the attacks had not hurt the bilateral relationship, Australia's reputation had been damaged among sections of the Indian public and the government was looking at ways to repair that damage.

    Australia had neglected its relationship with India in the past, treating it as a "Twenty20 game, not a Test match", but it could no longer afford to be complacent.

    "There have been bursts of enthusiasm when what has been required is ongoing engagement, persistence and perseverance," Mr Smith said.

    "The Prime Minister and I have said repeatedly that we see this very much as the century where economic and political and strategic influences are moving to the Asia-Pacific.

    "Everyone sees the rise of China but not enough people have seen the rise of India", which was about to take a role of global prominence.

    Smith aims for India war game | The Australian
     
  5. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Rudd to visit Mumbai, Delhi, to discuss strategic, trade ties

    New Delhi: Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will arrive in Mumbai Wednesday evening on a short six hour visit before emplaning for national capital New Delhi for talks with the Indian leadership, which are scheduled for Thursday.

    Rudd is expected in Delhi at around 11.30 p.m.

    He will begin his program on Thursday with a meeting with Dr. RK Pachauri, chief of TERI and thereafter will move to India Gate to pay homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti.

    Before calling on the President of India, Pratibha Devisingh Patil at 11 a.m., Rudd will visit the National Museum.


    On Thursday afternoon, he will interact with captains of Indian industry and is expected to project Australia as an improving investor friendly destination.

    He will also make an address on strategic affairs and foreign policy and open the India-Australia Round Table at the Indian Council of World Affairs.

    Later in the evening, he will call on the Vice President, Hamid Ansari and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi at their respective residences.

    He will meet the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh for bilateral talks between 6 and 7.30 p.m. at Hyderabad House, following which a joint statement will be issued.

    He will leave for Singapore on Friday morning.

    Rudd is the most senior member of the government to visit India after an outcry over the treatment of Indian students in Australia, and it is expected that New Delhi will air its concerns to him during the bilateral interaction.

    Education is Australia's third biggest export, bringing in over 15 billion dollars each year. India sends the second largest number of students to Australia after China but there are fears that figure could take a hit after recent events.

    An issue Canberra and New Delhi haven't seen eye to eye on is the Rudd government's refusal to sell uranium to India because it isn't a signatory to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT).

    The matter will be raised during the visit ahead of a review of the NPT next year.

    Australia and India may use the visit to announce the start of negotiations towards a free trade agreement after a feasibility study reportedly found a deal to be favourable to both countries.

    India is Australia's fourth biggest export market and, like China, is crucial to growth prospects over the coming decades.

    From India, Rudd heads to Singapore for the 17th annual summit of leaders from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies, on November 14-15.

    Rudd will return home on November 16.
     
  6. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Kevin Rudd refuses to buckle on refusal to sell uranium to India

    KEVIN Rudd has made clear he will not buckle on Australia's refusal to sell uranium to India just hours ahead of a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.
    The Prime Minister told reporters in the Indian capital this morning that India's refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty meant Australian would not sell it uranium, even though it had helped the Indian Government obtain materials to support its nuclear program through the Nuclear Suppliers Group - an international grouping of nations supplying nuclear technology and resources which seeks to contribute to non-proliferation.

    India has long sought access to Australian uranium ore to meet the energy needs of its rapidly growing economy, with Mr Rudd's Government changing previous Labor policy to allow for an expansion of Australian uranium exports and the construction of new mines.


    However, Australia maintains a blanket ban in selling uranium to nations which refuse to sign the NPT Treaty.

    This morning Mr Rudd said the United States, Australian and other nations had worked together in recent years through the international Nuclear Suppliers Group to ensure India could access "the supply of inputs to its own nuclear program".

    "We also worked in close concert with other nations from around the world, some of whom had profound reservations about that action," Mr Rudd said.

    "On the question of bilateral uranium sales, can I say that our policy remains governed by the provisions of the non-proliferation treaty that has been the case in the past.

    "The non-proliferation treaty and our policy in relation to it as underpinning our attitude to uranium sales is not targeted at any individual country. It has been longstanding Australian Government policy."

    Mr Rudd, who arrived in India last night after an unannounced visit to Australian troops in Afghanistan, will meet Mr Singh shortly before midnight tonight in his first trip to the nation as Prime Minister.

    A key focus of the trip is easing Indian concern about a recent spate of attacks on Indian students studying in Australia which threatens the future of Australia's lucrative education export industry.

    The issue, fanned by zealous Indian tabloid television coverage, led to the burning of effigies of Mr Rudd in India earlier this year.

    Also yesterday, Mr Rudd said increasing activities by Taliban insurgents in the south of Afghanistan was making the job of Australian troops in the region increasingly difficult.

    But he vowed to stay the course, saying Australia would not leave its friends "in the lurch".
     
  7. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    Australia to invest 50 million dollars for Australia- India strategic research fund: Rudd

    New Delhi, Nov 12 (ANI): Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd announced on Thursday that his government would invest 50 million dollars over five years for the Australia-India strategic research fund.

    Addressing reporters here on the sidelines of his meeting with RK Pachauri, chief of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Rudd said the Fund, a joint initiative of the Australian and Indian governments, is already supporting fifty projects across the spectrum of scientific disciplines including astronomy, climate change and evolution, malaria vaccines, the impact of global warming on agriculture, water management, computing and biotechnology.

    “The additional 50 million over five years for the Australia-India strategic research fund will commence from financial year 2009-10,” he added.

    “I have already seen where such collaboration can lead to ground breaking research, investigating how—can be used to clean up oil contamination in water. In fact the fund which will be Australia’s largest bilateral research fund is already supporting 50 projects across the spectrum of scientific disciplines,” said Rudd

    He also announced a further one million dollars for an innovative Australia-India solar cooling research project.

    The project between CSIRO and the Energy and Resources Institute aims to develop a zero emissions solar cooling system for use in remote rural communities in un-electrified areas.

    “We will contribute to a further million dollars to extend the TERI and the CSIRO collaboration working to provide a emissions free solar cooling electricity and pure drinking water for rural areas,” said Kevin Rudd, Australian Prime Minister.

    Through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund, Australia’s largest bilateral research fund, the Australian Government has already invested 20 million dollars since 2006 to enable Australian scientists to engage in leading edge collaborative research with Indian scientists.

    The increased investment in the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund will, in particular, seek to support more applied research and engagement of industry partners in order to produce outcomes that help address some of the pressing challenges that both countries face. (ANI)
     
  8. bsn4u1985

    bsn4u1985 Regular Member

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    Australia seeks India's strategic partnership

    Australia seeks India's strategic partnership

    New Delhi
    Australia has sought to emerge as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region with India’s help which may result in a change in the world’s geo-politics.

    The relations between the two countries have been upgraded to that of “Strategic Partnership” in the joint statement and joint declaration signed by the visiting Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Michael Rudd and the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi.

    Australia is also ambitious of striking a free trade agreement (FTA) with India on basis of a joint feasibility study to be released shortly and would purse similar FTAs with other major economies of the region including Japan, China and South Korea. Both the countries also agreed to cooperate in climate politics.

    Rudd appreciated India’s role in G-20 finance ministers’ forum for bailing out the world economy. Addressing the Indian industry, he said that the US dollar should continue as a global reserve currency
    at least on a medium-term basis.

    After signing of the pact with the US on civil nuclear cooperation, India is looking for supply of uranium from Australia. But Australia has a long-standing policy of not supplying uranium to countries that have not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NTP) which includes India.

    However, Rudd is willing to make an exception. Addressing the annual Australia-India Roundtable co-hosted by Lowy Institute and Indian Council of World Affairs, Rudd said : “I appreciate that there is one aspect of the energy relationship which remains unresolved. Australia’s long-standing position on the export of uranium to countries that are not party to the NTP. This is not a policy directed at India. It applies globally and it has since 1978 under different Australian governments. We have not sought to isolate India on critical nuclear policy concerns. In fact the reverse is true. Australia was an active supporter in the Nuclear Supplier Group of lifting the nuclear moratorium against India following the US-India nuclear deal. This reflected Australia’s appreciation of India’s non-proliferation record. The (Australian) government understands that India looks to the day when its ambitious civil nuclear energy program can include Australian uranium.”

    As an ardent student of Asian Studies, Rudd quoted profusely the first Prime Minister of India, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru about India’s role in Asia-Pacific region. He said that India was central to Asia-Pacific Community by 2020. Australia and India should be natural partners in the Asia-Pacific. “The challenge of the Asia-Pacific is to manage the inevitable stresses and strains of shifting economic and strategic contours,” he said and added that it was for this reason Australia strongly supports India’s participation in all key regional for a like East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum and membership of APEC.

    He described Asia-Pacific region where the big power relationships most closely intersect – the crucible where the relationships among the US, India, China, Japan and Russia are forged and the template for the emergence of US-China relationship and where the complementary and competitive interests of the major powers would need to be managed, harmonized and reconciled.

    Describing Australia as “a middle power committed to the principles of creative middle-power diplomacy,” Rudd said that his country was spearheading efforts in the Pacific region to secure stability for small island states, including supporting the establishment of newly independent East Timor, stabilizing Solomon Islands and pressing for an early return to democracy in Fiji.

    He said that Australia has the 13th largest military budget worldwide, the fifth largest in Asia. It is among the top 10 military contributors in Afghanistan and the largest non-NATO contributor. Australian forces are servicing 13 countries around the world and is now fundamentally enmeshed in Asia. Australian defence forces are intensifying cooperation with over 50 activities last year including joint exercises and in particular maritime exercises.

    “Whether related to strategic change in East Asia; combating terrorism (including in Afghainstan); ensuring maritime security; acting on transnational crimes including people smuggling; or working together on new security challenges such as natural disasters and stopping the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction – there is great scope for security cooperation between two countries to broaden further,” he said

    India is forging closer links with the US and leaving a larger footprint across the Indian Ocean. The Indian Navy is the fifth largest in the world. Globally, India is increasingly engaging in and exerting influence through multilateral system – whether in the UN, G20, the East Asia Summit or beyond. By 2030, India is projected to overtake China as having the world’s largest population. Some forecast India will be the world’s largest economy by 2025.

    On the economic front, India is now Australia’s fifth largest export market for goods and services and is rapidly moving to become the third largest export market. India is also the sixth largest market for Australia’s services such as information and communications technology, education, tourism, finance, mining, construction and software development. India is the fifth largest energy consumer and Australia intends to be a reliable, cost-competitive and long-term supplier of energy.

    About 250,000 Indians live in Australia, 115,000 Indians visit Australia annually and 115,000 Indian students are studying in Australia.

    Keeping in the view India’s potential, Rudd suggested a strategic partnership with India including economic, political, security and cultural spectrum. Australia and India launched a $ 100 million collaboration project on science and technology. Australia would help to revive the 13th century Buddhist learning centre – Nalanda University. India and Australia are working together under five Action Plans in the areas of mines, coal, new and renewable energy, petroleum and natural gas and power

    In August, this year India’s Petronet LNG signed a US $ 20 billion deal with Exxon-Mobil for new Gorgon project in Western Australia. Tata Group of India has decided to partner with Australian companies in fields as diverse as coated steel production, long-haul logistics and retail electronics. Australia is looking for India’s help in Global Carbon Capture and Storage Institute and the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change.

    Australia seeks India's strategic partnership - Express India
     
  9. RPK

    RPK Indyakudimahan Senior Member

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    fullstory

    India, Australia in talks to sign free trade agreement

    Hyderabad, Jan 18 (PTI) India and Australia are in talks for signing a free trade agreement to promote bilateral trade, an Australian government official said here today.

    Feasibility report over the proposed agreement has been submitted to the governments and formal negotiations on the issue would begin soon, Consul-General of Australia in Chennai, Aminur Rehman, told reporters.

    He was speaking on the sidelines of a media conference where Australian interior design firm Chhada Siembieda Australia (CSA) showcased its work at the Westin Hotel here.

    Rick Whalley, CSA Principal, said the company has provided designs to six international hotels in India and is in talks with few more developers regarding new projects.

    "We have now consciously made a decision to focus on the Indian market because we enjoy working here and there is plenty of scope for innovation.
     
  10. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Victorian minister to visit India to assure students' safety


    Joining the list of Australian leaders visiting India to reassure students about their safety and quality education here, senior Victorian Minister Bronwyn Pyke is expected to be the next in the line this year to visit New Delhi.
    "I am currently working out on my visit to India that could happen this year. Melbourne remains a safe destination to study and offers high class educational courses. We are very welcoming community and we love international students," Education and International Student Minister Pyke said.

    The minister was speaking on the sidelines of launch of an international guide for overseas students' titled - 'The Insider', which will be distributed free among them.

    Australia's multi-million dollar international student industry has experienced a huge decline following the attacks on overseas students mainly Indians. Over 100 Indian students were attacked last year in Australia.


    The new initiative was launched with the help of Federation of Indian Association of Victoria, who approached local authorities to distribute the guide to Indian students at the airport-based Welcome desk that was established by the state government for its International students, its president Vasan Srinivasan said.

    The book lists many relevant information like where to pick up a cab to where to eat or where to call when in need of a help.

    Vasan said it was interesting to note that the booklet was written by a local for international students to help them mingle as a part of the society after series of violent attacks indicated that there was a serious need to make these pupils socially integrate in the local society.

    The guide is the first of its kind in Australia and include helpful tips like how to avoid getting in trouble with your landlord, festival tips, where to find a great coffee or just how to work your way around the public transport system.
     
  11. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Widespread racist e-mails in circulation in Oz police

    Widespread racist e-mails have been found to be in circulation within the ranks of the Victorian police, already battling allegations of being slow to curb rising hate crimes against Indians.
    Police launched an investigation after its ethical department found shocking racist content in circulation in internal police email system, a scandal that has already claimed the life of one officer.

    "Hundreds of personnel are being investigated," the Victorian chief commissioner Simon Overland told Australian news agency AAP.

    While refusing to divulge the contents of the emails, Overland said, "Some were extremely offensive" and were found too shocking to be released publicly.

    According to AAP report, up to 100 officers are being probed for sending the emails on work computers that are being dubbed by officers allegedly extremely racist, homophobic and pornographic, officers have told media outlets.


    "We're not talking about one item, we're talking about multiple items," Overland said.

    The police commissioner said those responsible for the racist emails would be fired as he confirmed that an officer Tony Vangorp, 47, had shot himself Monday night after tendering resignation.

    Overland said the officer's job was on the line as he was being investigated.

    He also refused to confirm if the emails contained racist comments against Indian students or Africans – two minority groups who have criticised police conduct in recent months.

    "I'm not going to describe exactly the nature of the material in question," Overland said adding "If the Victorian public were aware of the nature of that material, I believe that it's of such a nature that it would cause significant concern within the Victorian community."

    Overland said some of the emails are so serious that they raise "real questions about a number of individuals' suitability to continue with Victoria Police".

    The police ethical standards department has been using computer experts to track the email.

    The state's top police watchdog, the Office of Police Integrity, confirmed last week that it had also launched an investigation into racism in the force.

    Overland had earlier this week confessed that a small minority of officers were racist following release of a report that said police suffered from a culture of racism.

    The 'Age' newspaper reported that the investigations centred on a graphic image of a non-Caucasian man being tortured, around which several policemen had added racist comments and forwarded these to other colleagues.

    The scandal comes to light two weeks after an official report alleged that officers beat up African students and taunted them with terms like "monkey".

    Victorian police are already in the fire for their slow response to attack on Indian students.
     
  12. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Another Indian student racially abused in Oz

    PTI | Melbourne

    A 23-year-old Indian student was attacked, robbed and left unconscious near the city police headquarters here, leaving him with a broken nose and a seriously damaged eye, in a fresh racial incident after a brief lull in assaults on Indians here.

    Neeraj Bhardwaj was approached by two drunk men when he was waiting for a tram near Melbourne Aquarium at 4 am (local time) on Easter Monday after a night out, the Age reported on Tuesday.

    The men, who Bhardwaj said were white and aged in their 20s, demanded his wallet. Even after he handed it over, one man punched him several times in the face until he lost consciousness.

    Bhardwaj said the men left immediately but returned about 15 minutes later and punched him again, one of them screaming: “F--- off, go back to your own country”.

    The assault left Bhardwaj with a damaged left eye, broken nose, headaches and sore ribs. He said the doctors told him his left eye had lost “80 to 90 per cent” of its capacity and might never recover.
     
  13. Sridhar

    Sridhar House keeper Moderator

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    GVK receives Australian state approval for Alpha Rail Project

    06 June 2012



    Diversified infrastructure company, GVK Power & Infrastructure's $10-billion Alpha Coal and Rail Project in Australia got a boost after the Queensland state government approved its proposed 495-km rail line.

    The approval comes less than two weeks after the company received environmental clearance for the project from the Queensland coordinator general.

    In September 2011, Hyderabad-based GVK acquired majority assets of Australia's heiress Gina Rinehart-owned Hancock Coal for $1.26 billion (Rs5,983.74 crore). (See: GVK acquires majority stake in Australia's Hancock Coal for $1.26 billion)

    Under the deal, GVK acquired a 79-per cent stake in the Hancock's Alpha and Alpha West high quality thermal coal projects, located in the Galilee Basin in Queensland, with Hancock retaining the rest.

    The entire stake in the Kevin's Corner Coal Project, located next to Alpha, and the entire stake of Hancock's rail and port project linking the two coal projects to the Abbot Point port and Abbot Point T3 expansion project, will be acquired by GVK, with Hancock retaining some tonnage capacity.

    The thermal coal project consists of reserves of 7.9-billion tonnes of which at least 3.3 billion tonnes are extractable.

    GVK estimates the total investment in the first phase to be at approximately $10 billion, which includes capital expenditure on the mines, rail line and port, making it the largest investment by an Indian company in Australia.

    GVK, controlled by billionaire G V Krishna Reddy, plans to raise $7 billion of debt to help fund the development, as well as $3 billion by selling equity stakes in the project.

    The infrastructure development includes building a 495km rail line and a 60 million tonnes per annum capacity port at Abbot Point.

    GVK had last month said that it has received expressions of interest from potential users for the rail and port facilities.

    GVK Group is one of India's largest infrastructure developers with interest spanning areas such as energy, airports, roads and urban infrastructure. In addition, GVK is also involved in many other businesses held by it privately including real estate, hotels, pharmaceuticals and resources.

    domain-b.com : GVK receives Australian state approval for Alpha Rail Project
     

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