The Morrison Government is further strengthening Australia India Maitri (friendship) our ties with India, one of Australia’s most important partners in the Indo-Pacific region. A series of new Maitri initiatives to support our education, community, tourism and investment links will add to our growing bilateral relationship, which was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020.
Following meetings between the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, and India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar in Melbourne, the Government has launched three Maitri (friendship) initiatives, which will foster Australia-India cooperation, creativity, understanding and exchange.
The $11.2 million Maitri Scholarships Program will attract and support high achieving Indian students to study at Australian universities. It will showcase Australia’s globally renowned academic and research institutions, particularly in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health.
The $3.5 million Maitri Grants and Fellowships Program will build links between our future leaders, supporting mid-career Australian and Indian professionals to collaborate on strategic research and shared priorities.
The $6.1 million Australia-India Maitri Cultural Partnership will boost the role of creative industries in our economic and people-to-people ties. This partnership will also promote artistic talent and cultural exchanges in our two countries’ world class visual and performing arts, literature, film, television and music industries.
Following meetings between the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Dan Tehan MP, and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal in New Delhi, the Government has also renewed the Australia-India Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation and launched the Australia India Infrastructure Forum.
Also read: Dan Tehan for Australia India Free Trade
The renewed MoU positions tourism operators to take advantage of our international border re-opening to all fully vaccinated eligible visa holders, including tourists and business travellers from 21 February. Under the MoU, Australia and India will promote travel between the two markets and advance cooperation on tourism policy, data sharing, training and industry engagement. Pre-pandemic, India was Australia’s fastest-growing source of international visitors. In 2019, almost 400,000 visitors from India visited Australia and spent a combined total of $1.8 billion.
The Australia India Infrastructure Forum will serve as a hub to promote two-way investment in infrastructure. As a side initiative of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, currently under negotiation with India, it will also support our broader trade and investment objectives. A new $5.8 million Bay of Bengal Connectivity Partnership will expand this work to other countries in the region.
These initiatives reflect our nations’ shared commitment to cooperation and exchange, as set out in the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, agreed in June 2020.
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