Australia finally has a strategy to build relations with India – but detail and time will tell

At last! Australia has ‘An India Economic Strategy to 2035’ — let’s hope this will have an impact and lead to change.

The strategy document noted that current trade with India is around $15 billion – it should have lamented this as a pathetic failure of previous initiatives. In contrast, current trade with China is $200 billion.

The report talks about several priority areas but only time will tell if the detail and approaches are right.

It misses on not placing enough emphasis on cross-cultural understanding. This is Australia’s biggest failing and underpins our poor outcomes with India – we just cannot talk to each other in a way we both understand.

The report also misses some strategic points – while it talks about declining US power in the region it could acknowledge that India has never understood our close alliance with the US. Nor does India have Australia’s (US based) global focus that we have to boost democracy etc. India is far more accepting of the world as it is. To know this is to have better diplomatic (and trade) relations.

It is also light on detail about how to benefit from the reach and connections of the 700,000 or so Indians who have migrated to Australia. But further focus and research will no doubt come from the report.

I really like that the report noted the Indian opportunities for Australia “would not fall into its lap and that the government would require a sharper national focus on India, an unambiguous commitment by Australian business and a deeper understanding by both government and business of the magnitude of what is unfolding in an Indian market place which will only get more crowded”.

More to come…

Author: Stephen Manallack

Former President, Australia India Business Council, Victoria and Author, You Can Communicate; Riding the Elephant; Soft Skills for a Flat World (published by Tata McGraw-Hill INDIA); Communicating Your Personal Brand. Director, EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and Trainer/Speaker/Mentor in Leadership, Communication and Cross Cultural Communication. Passionate campaigner for closer western relations with India. Stephen Manallack is a specialist on “Doing Business with India” and advisor/trainer on “Cross-Cultural Understanding”. He is a Director of EastWest Academy Pty Ltd which provides strategic advice and counsel regarding business relations with India. A regular speaker in India on leadership and global communication, his most recent speaking tour included a speech to students of the elite Indian university, Amity University, in Noida. He also spoke at a major Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) global summit, the PR Consultants Association of India in Delhi, the Symbiosis University in Pune and Cross-Cultural Training for Sundaram Business Services in Chennai. He has visited India on business missions on 10 occasions and led three major trade missions there. He provides cross-cultural training – Asia and the west.

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