Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has evolved through the years
Kevin Rudd had to brave the “monkey-gate” cricket controversy, Muhammad Haneef case and Indian students’ safety concerns. Julia Gillard, reapproved the supply of uraniumsort out misgivings with New Delhi and Tony Abbot in close cooperation with India addressed the students’ issue by cracking down on dubious education providers, tightening visa rules and stamping out corruption in the sector. A garlanded Malcolm Turnbull sitting on the footsteps of the Akshardham temple in New Delhi with PM Modi was a masterful soft touch to bilateral ties. And PM Scott Morrison’sculinary skills and Hindi tweets have made further inroads into Indian hearts and minds. Australia has also extended bipartisan political support to India in counterterrorism in the wake of deadly attacks, something New Delhi values very highly.
Australia’s sport leadership has been acknowledged by PM Narendra Modi and former sporting greats like Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Adam Gilchrist,Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice among others and current players play a pivotal role in building relationships.
Australia is also helping India in widening participation of marginalised children and youth in sports. On the other hand, Indian cricketing greats Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh flew down to participate in the Bushfire Appeal charity match which raise around A$ 7.7 million for firefighting, reconstruction and rehabilitation. IAIE’s Goodwill Ambassador to India Matthew Hayden also played in the match.
Not many are aware that an Australian NGO “Doctors for You had provided upgraded equipment and set up 20 isolation and treatment beds in Patna in Bihar to fight Covid-19.
Quite rightly, Australia and India have also invested in bolstering mutual country knowledge and Peter Varghese report,An India Economy Strategy to 2035: From Potential to Delivery” and the complementary Australia Strategy by Ambassador Anil Wadhwa for the Confederation of Indian Industry need to be taken up by the top political leadership and actioned upon by all the relevant stakeholders on both sides.
As New Colombo Plan and other fellowships aim to nurture a new generation of country experts there is a need for reinventing the old 3Cs (curry, cricket and commonwealth) with a nurturing a new 3C paradigm by both sides: Constituencies of Country Champions that will drive engagements.
Australia’s demand for an international inquiry into the origins of the spread of Covid-19 has also found favours in New Delhi which backed the demands for the inquiry by WHO. So one can see a strong reciprocityand strong mutual backing emerging in bilateral engagements. In the rapidly altering international order, thanks to the Covid-19 battering, Australian businesses can now look for greater opportunities in India and vice versa. Australia India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership ushers in a pathbreaking phase in bilateral engagements something that India News group is now looking forward to harness.
By Dr Ashutosh Misra