India is closer to getting Australian Uranium, this was indicated by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during her address to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) in Mumbai recently, says a Foreign Ministry media release.
She said, “India is increasingly reliant on nuclear power. So we are negotiating an agreement that will enable the export of Australian uranium to India for peaceful purposes.
It is a cause of regret that having agreed in principle in 2007 to sell uranium to India, the then incoming government reversed that decision causing four years of unnecessary tension in the relationship before reversing the decision back.
The Abbott government is committed to this nuclear supply agreement and during our recent meeting in Perth, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid and I agreed on the importance of progressing this agreement as quickly as we can.”
We are also removing impediments to business confidence and innovation and we want to build on our shared strengths with India.
Let’s just take energy and resources. Like all nations, India needs energy security.
So with vast resources and a relatively stable social and political system, Australia presents as a secure, reliable and long-term provider of energy resources.
We have been supplying Japan with energy resources for decades, and more recently South Korea and China.
We are now developing this relationship with India.
Our coal and LNG are set to become vital to India’s development, helping fuel India’s growth and prosperity.
Similarly, India buying our resources and investing in our resources sector is providing jobs and prosperity for Australians.
India is projected to move from 100 million tonnes of coal imports to 200 million over the next few years – making it the size of the current Japanese market for us.
Estimates suggest India will need 50 million tonnes of LNG by 2025.
Australia is likely to be the world’s largest exporter of LNG by 2018.
The opening up our economies has opened up Australia and India to each other.
A decade ago our trade was modest. India is now Australia’s fifth largest export market. Our bilateral trade has increased by around a third in the past five years alone. Indian companies used to be seen rarely in Australia.
Now all of India’s major IT companies have a presence in our country.
This morning, with High Commissioner Patrick Suckling and Consul General Mark Pierce, I formally opened our Consulate General in Mumbai and then witnessed the signing of an MOU between the Indian Ministry of Health and Australia’s National Trauma Research Institute.
My next act on leaving this lunch was to pay my respects to Mr Sachin Tendulkar by attending a short segment, of what I thought, was going to be a much longer game but there is no doubt about those West Indians. They were clearly unable to hold back the might of the Indian test team so I am afraid I will not have that opportunity but Mr Tendulkar holds an award in the Order of Australia which is the highest civilian award in our country. He is respected and admired not only as a great sportsman but also as an ambassador for India across the cricket loving world and beyond and I hope at some point I will have to opportunity to tell him how much I admire him!
Education also ties our nations together.
For example India is the second largest source country of international students in Australia and we welcome your students and we value their presence in our higher education and VET sectors.
The Australia-India Strategic Research Fund has supported more than 200 joint projects and collaborations between our universities.
As the Government is determined to take the relationship further, I believe that education is going to be the key to that relationship. It will be a key asset.
The Australian Government has a new and what I hope will be a signature policy, the Australian New Colombo Plan.
It builds on the original Colombo Plan that brought over 40,000 young people from our region to study in Australian institutions between the 1950s and 1980s.
Our new plan is in reverse. We propose to offer Australian university students, our undergraduate students, the opportunity to study in regional universities, and undertake internships with companies that are operating in the host country.
So sending our young people, our best and brightest, into the region will build our “Indo-Pacific” literacy, boost our innovation, and build ties with the regional leaders of the future.
I think that there can be no better investment from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade than investing in our young people so that they can come back to our country with new perspective, new ideas, new insights, understandings and of course, boost our productivity and prosperity, but also build relationships that will last a lifetime.
The original Colombo plan has alumni spread throughout the region. I am always so touched by the experience of having a Prime Minister, or a former Prime Minister, Deputy President or President come to me and say that they know Australia and love Australia because they were a Colombo plan scholar.
We’re pleased that this is also a priority for India, as reflected in the Indian Government’s new “Connect to India” program.
On our New Colombo plan there will be a test or pilot next year in 2014 and thereafter we hope that India will become a part of Australia’s New Colombo Plan so that we can send our young people to study in your universities. Of course we will continue to welcome Indian students to Australia.
The partnership between Australia and India is a partnership — and a friendship — that has deepened and matured as each decade has passed.
I believe that the best days of this relationship lie ahead, as we work together to build a strong, stable region and a stronger and more stable world.
The new Australian Government is determined to institute structural reform to unleash the full potential of our businesses and investments, and this is obviously in Australia’s interest.
I also hope that it is seen to be in India’s interests and that together we can have a shared future
I am so pleased to have had this opportunity to visit India at this time. I hope it is first of the many visits to this beautiful country. I have been here before and fell in love with the country and so the opportunity to be here as our Foreign Minister has made me very proud indeed and I look forward to greeting Indian members of parliament, business leaders, community leaders to our shores as our relationship continues to thrive, flourish and prosper.