India has been a friend to Victoria for a long time. Of late, particularly in the last decade or so, the state government, irrespective of its persuasion has been looking at India more closely than before. The government led by Daniel Andrews took it to the next level when in 2019 it prepared and released an official strategy on Victori-India relations, Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future documenting its commitments and goals.
Acknowledging the contribution being made by the local Victorian Indian community, it said:
“The significant contribution that Victoria’s Indian communities make to all aspects of our state have brought us closer together. We both are aspirational societies. We are tenacious. We believe in the value of education and supporting our young people in their pursuit of opportunities. Creating jobs for our workers and doing it in a way that is meaningful, inclusive and sustainable is a shared priority.”
The government realized how fast India was growing. Compared to our ageing population India’s very young population (averaging 29) in a country of 1.3 billion was something to factor in.
Often called India’s ‘demographic dividend’, this current and future workforce power of India’s potential as an economic global superpower was something the Andrews government wanted to factor in to see what potential advantages it could hope to derive while engaging with India more closely.
Working with India, Victoria set its sights on areas of education, health, transport and water management. The government thought reforms like the Smart Cities Mission, an urban renewal project to develop 100 cities nationally, create an environment where Victoria’s know-how and India’s growth can come together for the reciprocal benefit of our economies and communities.
Now that Andrews is gone, his successor Jacinta Allan delighted the audience at the recently held Australia India Leadership Dialogue (AILD 203) when she announced she would visit India in 2024.
Although no details have been worked out as yet, confirming to Bharat Times her plan to visit India next year, Premier Allan said, “Last night I spoke at the Australia India Leadership Dialogue.
The relationship between our two countries has never been closer.
Victoria is home to the country’s largest Indian community, and their contribution makes our state a better place in every field you can think of.
Trade between Victoria and India is worth almost $3 billion, and last year 53,000 international students from India enrolled to study here, as well as 170,000 Indian tourists.
All that doesn’t just happen by accident.
Next year I will travel to India to help build those connections in trade and tourism in person.
We both have so much to gain from a closer relationship, and I look forward to seeing it continue to deepen during my time as Premier.”
It is heartening to know that Premier Allan is as committed to continue Victoria’s engagement with India.
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