GUWAHATI, June 2 � Australian High Commissioner to India, Patrick Suckling visited the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE), Guwahati recently.
During his visit, he had an interaction with faculty members, employees, academia, entrepreneurs and representatives of the student fraternity. The purpose of his visit was to achieve cooperation between Australia and the north-eastern region of India on several fronts, including entrepreneurship and skill development.
Suckling said that sectors like energy resources, dry land farming, livestock industry, food processing, education, fissile materials, LNG, telecom, hospitality, etc., were the areas where Australia could share its expertise for economic development of the North-east and India. He mentioned that India and Australia were natural partners and moving on a path of growing strategic cooperation in the changing global political scenario.
�Economics, strategic security and people-to-people contact are the new mantras of Indo-Australia alliance. This has developed as a follow-up of the visit of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Australia,� he added.
The High Commissioner dwelt upon the fact that stability during the last 50 years in the Asia-Pacific region had fuelled growth in Asia and its neighbourhood.
�In recent times Australia-India trade has touched Aus$50 billion. There are five lakh Indian residents in Australia and Punjabi is the fastest growing language in Australia and Hinduism is the fastest growing religion. There are 40 universities in Australia and out of that 20 are having tie-ups in India. Seven Australian universities are in the top 100 universities of the world,� he said.
Australia has a pension fund of Aus$7 trillion which can be invested in India�s infrastructure sector, and India requires US$3 trillion in the next 10-20 years to build railroads, ports, smart cities, transport hubs, etc.
The High Commissioner primarily focussed on skill development where Australia can help the North-east in promoting the entrepreneurial ventures. He added that an expert team would visit Guwahati in the coming months to have an interaction on possible areas of cooperation.
Manoj K Das, Director, IIE said that the North-east was an ethno-cultural and biodiversity hotspot. �The North-east is contiguous with China and the ASEAN region. Culturally the region is a part of mainstream India. In the future, this region will be the land-bridge connection for South Asia with the ASEAN region and the Pacific Rim,� he added.
Asked about the discrimination and cruelty on the Indian students by the Australian students, the High Commissioner said that firm actions were being taken against the culprits. �The Government of Australia is looking into the matter very seriously and protection of foreign students has been heightened. The situation is very much under control now and we want more Asian students to come to study in Australia,� he said.