Malcolm Turnbull has described India as a “land of immense opportunity for Australia”, ahead of his first visit to the subcontinent powerhouse next week.
In a speech to the Sydney Institute last night, the Prime Minister outlined the importance of Australia’s ties with India, a day after billionaire Gina Rinehart warned the federal government to follow the economic lead of Narendra Modi.
“Alongside China, India is a land of immense opportunity for Australia,” Mr Turnbull said.
“Next week I will visit India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I will follow on from our successful meeting at the G20 summit last year.
“India is undergoing a dramatic economic transformation and our close partnership creates opportunities for both nations.”
Speaking at a resources conference in New Delhi on Wednesday night, Mrs Rinehart said Australia needed to take decisive steps to “make doing business in Australia easier”.
Mr Turnbull said with an annual growth rate of more than 7 per cent, the Indian economy could be as large as that of the US by 2050.
“Our two-way trade is worth almost $20 billion per year, a figure that has nearly doubled in the last decade,” the Prime Minister said.
“And our total trade in services has more than tripled over the same period from $1.3bn to $4.4bn.”
With Indian mining giant Adani maintaining its commitment to the proposed $16.5bn Carmichael coalmine project in central Queensland, Mr Turnbull said his government was dedicated to ensuring “opportunities” across multiple industries.
Mr Turnbull and his delegation will target co-operation across a “wide range of sectors including energy, education and trade”.
The Prime Minister, who flies to Papua New Guinea this afternoon for a brief trip before travelling to India on Sunday, is expected to meet with Adani boss Gautam Adani, who has discussed his planned project with various Australian federal, state and local politicians.
“India wants to provide energy security through a range of technologies, including nuclear, clean coal, natural gas and renewable energy,’’ he said.
“Australia is well placed to provide many of the raw materials, and some of the latest technology. The Indian government is also aiming to train 400 million people by 2022 — we can help them achieve this goal, both here and in India.”
Education Minister Simon Birmingham will travel with Mr Turnbull to promote Australian education providers.
“Education is already our second largest export to India, worth $2.3bn in 2015-16.
“India now represents the second-highest source of international students to Australia, with more than 60,000 in 2016. Australia is the second-most popular destination for Indian students after the US.”
Mrs Rinehart has warned the Turnbull government it must reboot falling investment in Australia, by following the leads of Mr Modi and US President Donald Trump.
“I keep reminding our governments that Australia needs to learn from the Indian leadership and now President Trump’s economic leadership also, by taking decisive steps to make doing business in high-cost Australia easier, and rolling out the red carpet for investors,” she said.