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Prospects of cooperation between India, Australia limitless: Kovind

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 23, 2018  | 01:04 IST

Sydney, Nov 22 (PTI) The prospects of cooperation between India and Australia are limitless and the two nations can do lot more together on trade, investment, technology and education, President Ram Nath Kovind said Thursday as he reiterated New Delhi's committed to the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement to further boost trade ties. Addressing an Australia-India Business Council event, Kovind said India and Australia are close and natural friends. "There is a special comfort and bond between our two countries. Our shared values and commonalities, not the least our passion for cricket and cinema, have helped us establish a vibrant partnership," he said. He said in recent years, the two nations have stepped up their strategic partnership deepening engagement in defence, security, technology and people-to-people ties. "There is matching energy and heightened policy focus on our trade and investment relations as well," the president said. He said the two nations shared strong economic complementarities. "Australia’s steady and stable growth, over several decades, has made it a shinning story; and India’s economic rise today is a global talking point. Built on this shared prosperity, our bilateral trade in goods and services has jumped over 100 per cent in the last five years from 10 billion US dollars in 2013 to 21.5 billion US dollars in 2018," he said. "We can, no doubt, do much better with a forward looking mobility partnership. India remains committed to take the proposed Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) forward to further boost our trading ties," President Kovind said. The negotiation for the CECA between India and Australia, was started in 2011 to provide fillip to trade and investments between the countries. Several rounds of negotiations have been completed for liberalising trade and services regime, besides removing non-tariff barriers and encouraging investments. But, both the sides have yet to resolve issues pertaining to goods and services. "Our investment relations, however, comparative to our respective economy size and prospects, are yet to take-off. The two-way cumulative investment stands at just under 30 billion Australian dollars. I am certain this would change fast and soon," the president said. "Australian pension funds, high-end technologies and innovative products are a natural fit for Indian growth and development. We can do lot more together be it on trade, investment, technology, skills or education. Prospects and possibilities are not just manifold but limitless," he said. The president said the two nations should collaborate with each other on cyber-space, artificial intelligence, block chain development and next-generation technologies to shape and guide the Fourth Industrial Revolution. "And we should harness the potential of blue economy and green growth for the benefit of future generations and a climate-smart world," he said. He also spoke about the economic reforms in India. "The prospect to collaborate and transact gets even more magnified, if you set it, in the backdrop of the transformational economic changes happening in India. India has been the fastest growing large economy in the world for quite some time," he said. "Indian infrastructure sector is booming. We have built 10,000 kilometers of expressways last year alone. We are at work to build 100 Smart Cities, 7 high speed train corridors and 10 green-field airports. For Australian super funds with considerable investible surplus and its resource sector, our infrastructure projects present an exciting opportunity," he said. India is keen to leverage Australian technology, business practices and expertise to enhance our Make in India, Digital India, Clean India and Skill India programmes, the president said. India's IT, start-up, fin-tech, nano-tech and bio-tech capacities also provide immense opportunities for Australian market to learn and earn from, he added. "There is a world of opportunities waiting for you in India. They are enticing you to run, to leap and to hop-skip-and-jump. I like your cultural expression - "mate” and "mate-ship”. I hope to see more mates and mate-ship between the business communities of Australia and India," he added. PTI NSA NSA

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