Yesterday Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews launched a decade-long plan to strengthen Victoria’s engagement with India. He is also making a five-day trip to India this week.
The Premier has ambitious plans. He has committed the State to increase Indian exports to nearly a billion dollars in 2027. He forecasts that post-graduate numbers of Indian students will grow by 25% and Indian tourist spending within Victoria will triple to $885 million dollars.
The targets come in light of recent census data, which report Victoria as the home of Australia’s largest Indian community.
“There are about 209,000 Victorian Indians – and there’s a lot of diversity in that number. To have the biggest and I think most impressive Indian community in our nation, does us great credit as the multicultural capital of our nation,” Premier Andrews said.
The report – Victoria’s India Strategy: Our Shared Future – is the product of extensive collaboration with business and community leaders in Victoria and India.
The strategy highlights education, health and liveable cities as growth sectors for the Victoria-India relationship as well as start-up E-commerce, sport, creative industries and visitor economies as emerging sector opportunities.
Andrews emphasised the strategy’s underlying message of mutual partnership and cooperation. It is a social, cultural, and political strategy, not simply an economic one.
Andrews also signalled excellent news for the Australia India Institute, which co-hosted the launch on Sunday at The University of Melbourne.
Andrews spoke in superlatives about the Institute’s work. He told the large audience, “The Australia India Institute is a jewel”.
“It is critical to our understanding,” he elaborated, “not just of the relationship as it is structured today … but the Institute provides us with a critical sense of how we write that next chapter into the future.”
The Premier added, “I am pleased to announce that we will provide funding security to allow the Institute to continue its work. In other words, the Australia India Institute is here to stay.”
The Strategy and the launch signal a key commitment to India and to the Institute’s work in strengthening understanding of India. The Premier is right. We are here to stay.