A message from the CEO

Sunaina
Author Centre for Australia-India Relations
Date 20 May 24

Which foreign or trade policy issue are you most interested in tackling?

For the last few years, I have been working alongside a dedicated team of scholars at the Observer Research Foundation who research on enhancing human security through development cooperation and economic prosperity. My research has been focused on strengthening women’s economic security in the development discourse and creating space for mutual sharing of knowledge, solutions, and experiences. A key deliverable of the work I have planned is to build an Australia and South Asia project focused on global south collaboration and human security. The project will work towards expanding both economic and social engagement between Australia and South Asia and South-South collaboration. I will be relying on the vast networks and institutional strengths of the IGD and UNSW to create and promote this project. 

How is your research going to promote policy translation and public discourse in Australia and/or India? 

I had the opportunity to work closely on India’s G20 Presidency as Executive Director of Think20 India. I consider India’s G20 presidency as pivotal (among other events) for the ascendancy of the idea of the global south in the policy discourse and public imagination. It can be said that the very diverse grouping of the global south has collectivised to demand a greater say in global affairs and for reform of financial and development institutions.  A vibrant and dynamic South Asia is integral to the rise of the global south. The region has been traditionally averse to integration and cooperation, but more countries are realising the common challenges and opportunities that they share. Our project has been designed to deepen the discourse and support the development of networks between Australia and South Asia so that both Australia and India can engage meaningfully with the region. 

What are you most excited for during your trip to Australia?

It is my privilege to be a part of the inaugural cohort of the Maitri Fellowship and the opportunity it represents to build a people’s bridge between India and Australia. I’m most looking forward to building new relationships which can contribute to the exciting and dynamic relationship between the two countries. For the last two years, I have been a member of the Steering Committee of the Australia-India Youth Dialogue, a track-two dialogue led by the youth. It has given me the chance to closely observe and, in some ways, contribute to the bilateral. The relationship between India and Australia has evolved from friendship to being immensely consequential for the global order. At the heart of all this are people-to-people ties and that is the part I want to work on. Aside from that, I am excited to engage and collaborate with the incredible researchers and thought leaders at UNSW.