Australia and India share a deep connection that reaches far beyond the political and economic.
Australia and India’s diplomatic relationship predates India’s independence with the Consulate-General of India first opening the Trade Commission of India in Sydney in 1941. In 1944, Australia appointed its first High Commissioner to India, who commenced in 1945.
Since India’s independence more than 75 years ago, our bilateral relationship has taken huge strides. Today, our prime ministers and foreign, trade, defence and education ministers meet regularly and both countries participate in multilateral forums. In 2020, the relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, accompanied by unprecedented investment through several ambitious policy initiatives.
Both nations are committed to further deepening cooperation. Australia will open a new consulate in Bengaluru in 2023, its fifth mission in India. India also plans to open a new consulate in Australia in the coming years.
The Australia India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) eliminated tariffs on more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exports to India on entry into force in December 2022, rising to 90 per cent after five years, and provides new trade opportunities for business and industry. Australia and India are now progressing an ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, providing an opportunity to build on ECTA market access outcomes and address broader cross-cutting issues, such as digital trade, government procurement and new areas of cooperation.
Australia’s economic engagement with India is supported by the India Economic Strategy to 2035 published in 2018 and An Update to the Indian Economic Strategy published in March 2022. Responding to a changing global environment and key economic reforms in India, the Update sets out a five-year action plan to build on our bilateral strengths and identify new and emerging opportunities for cooperation.
New market access
Many Australian companies are finding success in India. Acusensus is developing 4D radar mobile speed enforcement camera technology; Rubicon Water is delivering smart irrigation to the state of Karnataka; Wesfarmers, Atlassian and Telstra have established technology hubs in Bengaluru; and Ansell Ltd is building a manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu. ANZ operates an office and bank branch in Bengaluru as well as branches in Mumbai and Gurugram. Macquarie Asset Management is the largest international investor in Indian roads, focusing on training and safety programs.
Supporting this business engagement are the Australia-India Business Champions and CEO Forum programs, plus new partnerships in green steel, grains and critical minerals.
Today more than 976,000 people claim Indian ancestry in Australia, our fastest growing large diaspora community.
Australia’s Indian communities make important contributions to our society and are active in all aspects of Australian life including business, politics, judiciary, government, civil society, academia, science, the arts and sport.
As Australia's strategic and economic ties with India continue to gain ground, a range of Indian diaspora networks have demonstrated their readiness to contribute their expertise and entrepreneurialism to the economic relationship. Published in 2022, Australia's India Diaspora: A National Asset illustrates the reach of Indian Australians into the Australia-India economic relationship and will inform further engagement and collaboration with communities.
Education services are one of Australia’s largest exports to India. In 2022, there were more than 92,000 Indian international students studying at Australian universities [source: Dept of Education]. In 2023, Australia and India agreed to a Mechanism for the Mutual Recognition of Qualifications.
Scientific collaboration continues to grow and diversify with joint research in fields including processing hazardous electronic waste, complementarities in judicial systems, sports governance, and integrated maritime management and security. Since 2006, Australia and India have funded joint research projects in areas of mutual importance through the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund.
The Australian tertiary sector’s engagement with India is also blossoming beyond research with Australian medical degree students now undertaking internships at Indian hospitals. There are also joint PhD programs between Australian and Indian universities.
CULTURE AND SPORT
Both Australia and India have vibrant internationally renowned creative industries with growing partnerships between cultural sectors.
Although the pandemic impacted international touring, it did not impact virtual engagement.
Indian art and film are popular in Australia. The National Gallery of Australia and the NSW, Victorian and South Australian state galleries all hold significant Indian collections.
Australia has also been the backdrop for many Bollywood films including the critically acclaimed Dil Chahta Hai, filmed across Sydney, and the huge box office successes, Chak De! India, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and Singh is Kinng.
Rich cultural and
Australia and India signed an Audio-Visual Co-production Agreement in 2023, which will encourage collaboration and creative exchange, leading to more Indian-Australian co-productions showcasing the best of both cultures, landscapes and people.
Both countries have longstanding links through sport. Our cricket teams participate in regular Test and short form international tours, and Australian players and coaches are increasingly joining the Indian domestic circuit, particularly through the India Premier League.
The India Economic Strategy to 2035 identified sport as an opportunity to build Australia-India engagement. The two countries have natural links through cricket, with regular tours and Australian players and coaches joining the Indian domestic circuit, and collaboration is expanding to other sports.
In 2014, Australia and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation in Sport. This MoU was renewed in 2017 and again in 2023. Collaboration has included Victoria University’s Institute for Health and Sport Partnership with the Kerala government to develop a sports management program for coaches and trainers, and Deakin University’s development of an online sports marketing program with Indian cricket team, the Rajasthan Royals.
Australia India Business Exchange
Digital Education Hub
Australia India Innovation Network
Australia-India Future Skills Initiative
Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade): Market Profile - India
Other Australia-India related grants programs
Australia-India Strategic Research Fund
Australia-India Strategic Research Fund: early to mid-career fellowships
Australia India Research Student Fellowship Program
ARCH-India Mentorship Program
Australia-India Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership
Indian Cinema Attraction Fund