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The Australia India Institute was established by the University of Melbourne in 2008 and was launched in September 2009 by the then Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, MP, at the Australian High Commission in New Delhi. Ms Gillard stated that the Australian Government “is committed to building a greater understanding between our two peoples and Australians’ understanding of India, its culture, its history and place in the world”.

In late 2009, the Australian Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations provided just over AUD8 million to the Australia India Institute over three years. The University of Melbourne also contributed AUD1.75 million in cash and kind.

In April 2011, Professor Amitabh Mattoo joined the Institute as its inaugural Director for a three-year term. He was on leave from his position as Professor of Disarmament Studies at the Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. Professor Mattoo has also been a member of the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory group to the Prime Minister of India.

In 2011, the Institute moved to new premises in Barry Street, Carlton, Victoria, which for the first time gave it a real home. Here at least once a week, in the Institute’s vibrant seminar room, thought leaders from around the world provoke insightful discussion on subjects relevant to India and its relations with Australia. Here too, visiting fellows from India are given office space for their sojourn in Australia.