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In the past substance often lagged enthusiasm. Today the risk is that we are not moving fast enough and Australia might fall behind as other countries accord India a higher priority. This is already happening in some areas.
Momentum is important to relationships. We cannot afford to lose momentum or to assume that the logic of complementary interests will be enough to take the economic relationship to the level it needs to rise. To counter this, Australia needs an ambitious India strategy.
Australia has long seen India as an important country in its own right and one with which Australia should have a relationship of substance anchored in shared interests and shared values.
But finding that alignment has proven difficult over time. Outside of areas such as resources, education, mining and, in a different sense, sport India does not naturally look to Australia as a first order partner.
That perception needs to change if the relationship is to find the traction to take it to the next level. From when it first became independent in until relatively recently, India and Australia also saw the world very differently.
Our hard interests, strategic and economic, rarely intersected. During the Cold War we inhabited different strategic universes. Our communities had little to do with each other. Today however we are as close as we have ever been to getting the timing right and finding the content to underpin the relationship.
Our thinking on the merits of an open economy is closer.
We are building common ground on the geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific. And our communities are getting to know each other better, not least through the rapid increase in the Indian diaspora in Australia, nowstrong.
The Australia India relationship has had false starts in the past but that must not distract us from the opportunities of the future. This report seeks comprehensively to set out those opportunities. It is the most detailed analysis so far of the complementarities of our two economies over the next two decades.
In short, to move the relationship with India from potential to delivery. As a report to government I have sought to emphasise the importance of a strategic investment in the relationship with India led at the highest levels of the Australian Government.
A strategic investment means a clear signalling of the priority the government attaches to the relationship, a willingness to devote focus and resources to it, and a commitment to work closely with Australian State Governments, Australian business and community groups in delivering an integrated strategy.
Structure of the report Central to this report are judgements about why India matters to Australia. India is the fastest growing large economy in the world.
Beyond scale and complementary economies, India also offers us an opportunity to spread our trade and investment risk in Asia.
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