MELBOURNE: Lingering perceptions about corruption, bureaucracy and poor infrastructure in India are hampering the country's image as a lucrative investment destination for Australians, the newly-elected chair of a trade body here has said.
"Negotiations often concluded are revisited over and over again...Perceptions exist that they will face corruption, bureaucracy and may not be able to implement on timelines due to poor infrastructure," Australia India Business Council (AIBC) National Chair Sheba Nandkoelyar said.
Sheba said that there was a cultural barrier and Australian investors were finding Indian partners as 'not forthcoming and speaking straight to the point'.
However, she said the mood to do business with India especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in 2014 has "visibly improved" and Australian leadership, both in the government and opposition, is fully committed to promote bilateral ties.
"India has traditionally never looked at Australia seriously enough to do business," she said adding that despite the two countries shared several common areas of interest like cricket, there is still a long way to go when it came to the business relationship.
"India's focus has traditionally been on US, Europe, UK, Canada and other countries for furthering the business relationship, while Australia has focussed on US and China among other nations.
"2014 was a watershed year as it marked the fact that both Prime Ministers visited each other. To me the turning point was the signing of the civil nuclear deal between the two countries in 2014. Since then there has been a fair bit of interest between the two countries," she said.
She described the business climate between India and Australia 'good and improved'.
Highlighting the importance of concluding free trade agreement, Sheba said AIBC was keen to facilitate the bilateral trade relationship.
Sheba said that Skill India programme had an enormous opportunities for Australia while 'Make In India' project could provide options to Australian businesses who were looking at China.
"The new FDI amendments announced will be of great interest to Australia," she said adding, "This will certainly help in fast tracking the investment relationship."
Australia has opportunities in skilling and setting up Sports facilities and institutes.
Research & Innovation happening in Australia can find partnering in terms of scalability opportunities in India.
AIBC yesterday elected Sheba as its new national Chair and Jim Varghese as its new vice chair who would lead the premier business organisation for next two terms.