Australia and India have been long standing challengers in the field of cricket. But, in terms of bilateral trade and relations, the two countries sharing similar concerns, have not achieved much. Saying so were the delegates at Australia India Youth Dialogue (AIYD) at the Indian School of Business here on Monday.
AIYD is a three-year old international initiative aimed at fostering partnership between the two nations across business, social and cultural sectors, to further intensify its efforts through its stakeholders and alumni network to elevate the cooperation levels for enhanced results.
Acting Australian Consul-General for South India, Stuart Campbell during the event noted that both countries have had long standing issues that have caused economic and trade imbalance. He said people-to-people relationship too has not been the best. ‘’But now, we are thinking more about India and it is the same vice versa. It is an opportunity to engage young leaders in a dialogue and work together to build enduring business, cultural, social and environmental partnerships,” he said.
At the AIYD 2014, 15 young achievers between 18-35 years, from two nations are deliberating extensively on their chosen area of interest in an effort to enhance the collaboration levels. The delegates are from diverse backgrounds, such as, legal, entrepreneurship, engineering, international policy, UN, non-profit sector, society influencers, finance, media and community engagement.
Prof Amitabh Mattoo, director of Australia India Institute, also a recipient of Padma Shri in 2008, noted that shadow of the past was slowing down the progress of relationship between the two countries. Speaking about the deliberations, he told Express, “Structurally, the ministry of external affairs does not have the capacity to engage with our eastern neighbours and thus has not been able to give the required attention that it deserves.” According to him, young leaders in a vibrant federal democracy especially in the age of social media help in removing suspicion and strengthen the brandwidth in bilateral relations.
Ruchir Punjabi, chairperson, Australia India Youth Dialogue, said that AIYD has grown from being a bilateral dialogue to a critical component in strengthening relationship between Australia and India involving youth. ‘’We have already created the AIYD Alumni Network, which will support the objectives of the AIYD. The recommendations of the summit will be sent to both the governments in the form of a report and would be followed up on.”
The first day’s session on politics and bilateral relations also threw light on the present scenario and concerns both countries share. Among them, the major one was the rise of China.
Speaking about the rise and growth of China, Prof Amitabh Mattoo added, ‘’Everyone wants China’s rise to be peaceful. But their recent policies have been belligerent, especially in the case of South China Sea and aggressive posture towards Japan. New leadership in China and their aggressive diplomacy might be willing to use force to solve issues.”
‘’We spoke about China’s rise means to the region and problems faced by countries in the region. We are also concerned about maritime security, climate, piracy, etc,” he told Express.
“Immigration of Indians to Australia is a fastest growing category. Steps have been taken to ensure top quality education is offered. Indians are family oriented, law abiding and hard working and hence, favorable in Australia,” he added.