MELBOURNE: Australia will set up a new Consulate-General in Kolkata, taking the total number of its diplomatic posts in India to four.
The new mission would be part of the government's largest diplomatic expansion in over 40 years, said a joint statement issued by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo.
The Australian government will provide 10.8 million dollars to set up the Consulate-General in Kolkata, it said.
Currently, Australia has its High Commission in New Delhi and Consulates-General in Mumbai and Chennai.
The new Consulate-General in Kolkata would help Australian businesses access opportunities in India's growing mining sector, and protect and advance our interests in a changing Indo-Pacific, the statement said.
Australia's High Commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu welcomed the government's announcement to fund the Consulate-General in Kolkata and extend the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF).
"These announcements cement Australia's commitment to India as a first tier partnership," she said.
"The Consulate-General in Kolkata will strengthen bilateral trade and investment, particularly in the mining and resources sectors. We look forward to strengthening our engagement with West Bengal and surrounding states."
The Government has also committed to continuing the successful AISRF, under new measures providing 20 million dollars over the next four years to enhance Australian innovation in Asia under the existing Global Innovation Strategy of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
"India has, and continues to be, an important partner to Australia in innovation and science. The AISRF is Australia's largest fund dedicated to bilateral research and is at the cornerstone of our scientific partnership," she said.
Since its introduction in 2006, collaboration between Australia and India increased three-fold.
Some of the practical outcomes of this include improved trauma care, a portable diagnostic tool for tuberculosis, and advances in quantum computing.