PM Modi meets prominent Australian business leaders in Sydney; invites investments in India

Sydney, May 23 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday met business leaders of top Australian companies here and called for enhancing cooperation with the Indian industry in areas such as technology, skilling, and clean energy.

Modi arrived in Sydney on Monday for the third and final leg of his three-nation tour during which he will hold talks with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese and attend a community event to celebrate the country’s dynamic, diverse Indian diaspora.

He is visiting Australia as a guest of the Australian Government.

Modi held bilateral meetings with Hancock Prospecting Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart, Fortescue Future Industry Executive Chairman Andrew Forrest, and AustraliaSuper CEO Paul Schroder.

During his meeting with Rinehart, the prime minister highlighted the reforms and initiatives being undertaken in India and invited her to partner in technology, investment and skilling in the mining and minerals sector, a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said.

In a meeting with Schroder, he said that India is one of the most preferred major economies for foreign investments in the world and invited AustralianSuper to partner with India, it said.

AustralianSuper is an Australian superannuation fund headquartered in Melbourne.

Similarly, during his meeting with Forrest, he welcomed the Group’s plans to work with Indian companies in the field of Green Hydrogen.

“Emphasising India’s ambitious renewable energy plans, the Prime Minister highlighted the transformative reforms and initiatives being taken by India, such as the Green Hydrogen Mission,” it added.

Forrest briefed the Prime Minister on Fortescue Future Industries’ plans and projects in India.

After the meeting, Schroder said that Australian super does invest in India and in particular in the National Indian Infrastructure Fund.

“We have had a very good experience in investing in India,” he said.

Forrest said that he and the prime minister acknowledged that the fossil fuel sector has only limited time to run and it must be replaced with a fuel which causes no harm but can do everything which oil and gas can do.

Rinehart said that there are huge business opportunities between India and Australia.

The Indian economy is growing at a healthy pace and reached about USD 3.5 trillion and there are plans to take it to USD 32 trillion in the next 25 years.

“Growth in the future is going to be huge Australia really needs to work harder to develop its relations with India,” she said, adding India has taken several steps to attract foreign investments by cutting approvals and regulations.

During April 2000 and December 2022, India received USD 1.07 billion in investments from Australia, according to government data.

Both countries have already implemented an interim free trade agreement on December 29 last year. The two nations are now engaged in widening the scope of that agreement into a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Australia is the 13th largest trading partner of India in 2022-23. While exports stood at USD 6.95 billion, imports from that country in the last fiscal aggregated at USD 19 billion.

India is Australia’s largest export market for gold and chickpeas, the second-largest market for coal and copper ores and the third-largest market for lead and wool.

Key products of imports from Australia include coal, copper ores and concentrates and petroleum.