Let’s engage with India

Why get closer to India? About 600 million people, more than half India’s population, are under 25 years old; no country has more young people. Remember the economic impact of the western “baby boom”? It is time the west moved closer to India in trade, culture and tourism. What do you think? As the great Indian philosopher Rabindranath Tagore said: “You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water.”

Stephen Manallack is a Director of India strategy consultants the EastWest Academy Pty Ltd and compiled the secrets of Indian business success and cross cultural issues while preparing his book for the Indian market, Soft Skills for a Flat World (Tata McGraw-Hill). He has led several trade missions to India and is a Cross-Cultural Trainer. 

Australian firm MoooFarm wins award for work in India

MoooFarm, co-founded by Australian Indian impact entrepreneur Param Singh (pictured below) has been awarded a winning prize of $30,000 for their breakthrough technology of ‘Facial Recognition of Cattle’ in the Agriculture Insuretech Innovation Challenge organised by the World Bank Global Index Insurance Facility.


MoooFarm is an award-winning initiative that aims to increase income of 75 million small dairy farmers through capacity building, last mile extension and transfer of technology. Through its unique approach, MoooFarm addresses United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals toward Gender Equality, Poverty and Responsible Production and Consumption.

MoooFarm, bagged a winning price of USD 30,000 by The World Bank Group in Data Analytics category for their unique solution of ’Facial Recognition of cattle’.

With an accuracy of 95.7%, MoooFarm was able to test the facial recognition model using deep learning technology. In the coming weeks, this breakthrough technology will reach each and every small-holder farmer via MoooFarm’s mobile based application and its network of Village level Entrepreneurs.

According to The World Bank Group, the Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF), “helps smallholder farmers and micro-entrepreneurs gain better access to finance, manage financial losses, and protect their livelihoods against more frequent and more severe weather events…since 2009 it has facilitated more than 4.6 million contracts, covering over 23 million beneficiaries and $730 million in agricultural investments insured in more than 30 developing countries.”

Australia could benefit from Trump’s trade war with China

Here’s a very nice irony – Australia and India have really struggled to agree a Free Trade Agreement but one outcome of the Trump trade war on China is that the 15 countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (Including Australia and India) are now motivated to do a deal.

They are talking fast, negotiating hard and could come up with a sweeping deal this year that reduces the need for direct talks on an Australia-India FTA.


Australian PM Morrison (left) and Indian PM Modi – pretty happy about the future

RCEP will have the potential to deliver significant opportunities to Australian businesses and consumers. RCEP will cover ten of Australia’s top 15 trading partners, and collectively RCEP participating countries will account for a combined GDP of US$23.8 trillion (2016). These countries account for almost 60 per cent of Australia’s total two way trade, and over 65 per cent of our exports.

Thanks Donald.

Indian budget signals some shifts in education and skills training

The Indian Budget this month signalled continued commitment to free (free-er) market economy and was interesting in terms of education, skill development and related sectors.

The New Education Policy (NEP) is at the centre of reforms, set to bring major changes in school and higher education.

YoungIndians 2

Research is being given a big thrust with the National Research Foundation. Also, approx. US$60 million has been allocated to world-class institutions, signalling the continued thrust on excellence in higher education.

PM Modi is personally committed to having high ranking universities in India and some future deregulation is expected to allow greater global involvement – but nothing on this in the budget.

The finance minister also highlighted the ambitious Study in India programme, which has the potential to make India the hub of learning (again).

The National Sports Education Board is a much-needed initiative to promote sports amongst children who want to pursue that as a career.

We do hope the much-awaited Higher Education Commission of India (HECI) takes shape this financial year – still waiting on that one.

Aussie firm Atlassian sets up base in Bengaluru, India

Australian IT firm Atlassian, which provides its technology to customers such a NASA, Spotify and Lyft, has set up its global R&D Centre in Bengaluru and plans to hire 300 people.

This move by the Australian software developer firm shows it is betting big on the India market and its tech ecosystem. The company provides team collaboration and productivity software.

Atlassian Mike

Mike Cannon-Brookes, (pictured) co-founder and co-chief executive of Atlassian, said in an interview. “It (India) is a big part of our growth plans as the company continues to grow very rapidly. We always try to build well-balanced R&D teams not just on the software side of the things but also design, product management, security and all the aspects that go into making great software products.

“One of the big advantages Bengaluru has is (the availability) of great talent in all those areas in one spot,” he added.

Indian budget to be presented today showing the way for Modi 2.0

The India Budget 2019 is due to be presented today by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (pictured).

This will be one of the most crucial Budgets for Modi 2.0 as it will become a guide for upcoming reforms and policies in the next five years of his government.


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My Interview with Dr A M Gondane, Indian High Commissioner Canberra – on “soft power” and diaspora

The High Commissioner sees great potential in the Indian diaspora in Australia.

“The Indian diaspora here is very active and each diaspora brings its own culture. India has several sub-nationalities.  They bring their culture to Australia. It will mature over time and you will see multifaceted manifestation in the diaspora, the best of the best emerging.

“Similarly, the Indian diaspora will fuse with the Australian culture and this fusion could be transported back to India.  It would be very interesting. Australians will not only embrace English content and Hollywood but may be Australia will embrace, make and watch Bollywood films and something wonderful will come out and would be very good for both countries. We would be happy to facilitate in all ways as this is important. There should be movement, it should not be static, it should not remain in one place, failure does not matter,” he said.

Talking about Indian culture, Dr Gondane said: “India culture in Australia is not jazzy or upfront like Hollywood – but in a soft way it is very good and longer lasting.

“Music, fashion, literature, cuisine, poetry, dance, academic exchanges – we should mutually make each other better through this soft power. Soft power relations are very encouraging” Dr Gondane said.

One of the High Commissioner’s favourite themes is that India is changing fast – so fast it is hard to keep up with.

“To comprehend modern India is difficult even for Indians! India is changing rapidly while trying to keep its moorings intact.

“More visits of business and people between the two countries will be very good, especially if they are perceptive to imagine modern India; I encourage people to go for whatever time they can. The changing dynamic can be utilised for expansion of Australian businesses, ably guided and chaperoned by the Indian Diaspora.

“Buddha said – one principal of life which is constant is change. Change is constant, everything is susceptible to change, whether it is life, material things or ideas – all are subject to change,” Dr Gondane said in conclusion.


Pictured – the Australian World Orchestra performing in Chennai during its second tour of India – “soft power’ diplomacy at work under the leadership of the Chairperson of the AWO, Harish Rao.

‘Kithana acha he Modi!’ Morrison wrote in Hindi, which means “how good is Modi?”

The Australian Prime Minister took to Twitter on Saturday to share a cheerful selfie with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — a fellow world leader attending the G20 summit in Osaka.

‘Kithana acha he Modi!’ Morrison wrote in Hindi, which means “how good is Modi?”.

Indian PM Modi replied in Aussie style – “Mate, I’m stoked about the energy of our bilateral relationship!”


This relationship could be a key to a successful Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership deal of 15 countries in our region – big step forward.

The personal connections of leaders can go a long way to overcome bureaucratic hurdles. Long may their relationship flourish!!