India’s president has told Prime Minister Scott Morrison and business leaders to take inspiration from Australia’s cricketers and up their trade game.
Ram Nath Kovind, the first Indian president to visit Australia while in office, said while Australian companies had a presence in India, the world’s second most populous nation offered enormous opportunity.
Australia’s trade with India in 2017 was just $111 million more than trade with New Zealand, he said.
Mr Kovind urged Australian businesspeople to use cricket as a metaphor for business.
“The most successful Australian batsmen in India have been those who have shown patience, read the conditions carefully, settled down for a long innings, nurtured their partnerships and not fallen for spin,” he told Mr Morrison and business leaders in Sydney.
“Please come to India, the pitch is ready.”
Mr Kovind’s comments came after the nations’ trade agencies pledged to sign an agreement in the next 12 months to boost investment.
The federal government on Thursday also backed 20 priority recommendations in a report outlining how Australia can strengthen its economic ties with India between now and 2035.
Mr Morrison said the report provided a road map to Australia’s economic future with India and guide the way for Australian investment in the world’s fastest-growing economy to grow tenfold.
He said the two nations’ relationship went back as far as 19th-century coal trade and fighting on the hills of Gallipoli.
“Our cultures might be different but we believe in the same things,” he said.
“The supremacy of the ballot box in national life, the rule of law in institutions that safeguard rights and responsibilities of a free people and we believe in the rights of independent sovereign nations to live free and not under the controlling hand of others.”
The two nations’ will establish a food partnership, with new opportunities for Australia’s agritech and service companies, and expand partnerships with mining and air travel sectors.
The distribution of $500,000 worth of grants by the Australia-India research fund is also among the initial steps the government has committed to.
Federal Labor said it is glad the government is finally committed to taking actions recommended in former foreign affairs boss Peter Varghese’s report, after sitting on them for seven months.
Australian Associated Press
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