On 9 November 2017, India's High Commissioner to Australia, Dr A.M. Gondane, delivered a keynote address at The University of Western Australia on his insights of India's rise in the Indo-Pacific and the Australia-India strategic partnership.
- India's rise since its independence started from a low base. The human development index for India when it achieved its independence in 1947 was severely under-developed. India's global trade was also low, less than half percent of global trade. Since its independence, India had to develop its economic and political systems, as well as build its institutions such as the judiciary and civil society. Many challenges continue today, especially the high poverty rates, however, India is at a favourable spot with a huge potential for growth through its young demography.
- India is looking to harness and unleash the force within its youth population. India is a very young country with the median age being less than 30 years old. There are around 500 million people less than 25 years old. India is investing heavily into the quality of life for the next generation through unviersal education, major upskill development programs, and boasting roughly 800 universities around the nation. This presents Australia with a strategic opportunity to tap into India's emerging laboru force and invest into the next generation through skills capacity-building and develop market access in industries of the future.
- Australia and India are rediscovering themselves as Indian Ocean neighbours. In the past decade or so, Australia and India's relationship has continued to flourish. Australia and India's shared geography of the Indian Ocean is a great opportunity to further deepen collaboration and cooperation. As time goes by and confidence continues to build, many of the dissonances will be smoothened over.
You [Australia] have a lot of capacity. We [India] have got manpower. If these two things match, this partnership will be such a wonderful win-win partnership for both India and Australia.
- His Excellency Dr A.M. Gondane, India's High Commissioner to Australia
is a Research and Program Assistant at the Perth USAsia Centre.