A good will delegation of Indian Parliamentarians has arrived in Melbourne, led by Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs and Planning, Rajiv Shukla. The ministers arrived in Melbourne on Sunday where they took part in some local sight-seeing, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and were hosted by the Australia India Institute and the Acting Consul General of India, Raj Kumar for receptions at the University of Melbourne and the Consulate General of India.
Next week, India's Maha Kumbh Mela festival, held once every three years, comes to an end. The biggest Hindu festival in the world, Maha Kumbh Mela is held in four different cities on a rotating basis, 2013 being Allahabad's year. This year the festival attracted an estimated 30 million pilgrims, who bathed in the River Ganges with the belief that doing so at this most auspicious time would cleanse them of their sins.
Indian MP Jay Panda has prepared a Private Members’ Bill which seeks plain packaging of tobacco products in India as per the Australia India Institute’s 2012 task force on tobacco control. By making amendments to the current Indian tobacco control law, The Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003, it is hoped the plain packaging bill would decrease the number of smokers in India, of which there are 275 million.
The University of New South Wales has for the second year running presented a high calibre and high impact oration dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi on the anniversary of his assassination. Former High Court Justice and tireless advocate for equal opportunity and human rights, Michael Kirby addressed the topic "What would Gandhi do today?" - a meditation on the contemporary challenges of human rights.
Trade Minister Craig Emerson visited India this week for the 14th Australia-India Joint Ministerial Commission held in New Delhi. This is Dr Emerson’s second visit to India as Trade Minister, and his first since being allocated the duty of assisting Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Asian Century Policy. Emerson met with India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi yesterday for talks about the countries’ trade and investment relationship, and issues covered included free trade talks, launched in 2011, business links, energy, food security, and developments in regional and global trade negotiations.
The literary festival in Jaipur saw the launch of Kiran Bedi’s book, co-authored with Pawan Choudhary, about social activist Anna Hazare and the 'second war of independence' (against corruption) that he led during 2010-12. Professor Amitabh Mattoo, Director of the Australia India Institute, officially launched the book Uprising 2011; a collection of stories, reports, and even cartoons; on the opening day of the festival.
Following their successful forums in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2012, Australia India Youth Dialogue leaders converged on Melbourne today to continue this important conversation. Formed in 2011 to connect promising youth from Australia and India, the AIYD is fostering generational partnerships whose positive impact will shape relations between the two countries in the 21st century. The dialogue brings together 15 young Australian leaders and 15 young Indian leaders for talks on such issues as sustainability, international security, social innovation and education.
Dr Shashi Tharoor, India’s Minister of State for Human Resource Development, and Distinguished Fellow of the Aust
Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr has met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid during his first official visit to the sub-continent. Senator Carr is visiting India for the 8th Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue and other talks surrounding wide-ranging subjects such as support for Afghanistan , maritime security in the Indian Ocean , joint efforts to combat terrorism , and agreements to expand bilateral dialogues on cyber policy.
Following their successful forums in New Delhi and Mumbai in 2012, Australia India Youth Dialogue leaders converge on Melbourne this month to continue this important conversation. On January 30 and 31, 2013, AIYD will host the next stage of the bi-lateral dialogue in Melbourne before continuing on to Sydney for the final day of the Australian leg of the process.