NSW Premier Mike Baird has signed a new agreement with the Indian state of Gujarat that will strengthen cultural, trade and diplomatic relations between NSW and India
A new Memorandum of Understanding between NSW and Gujarat has come into effect after Premier Baird and the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Anandiben Patel, attended an official signing in Ahmedabad.
Premier Baird said the agreement concludes negotiations initiated by the NSW Government in 2013 and allows both states to share knowledge and expertise across five key areas.
“This historic agreement marks the start of a new chapter between NSW and Gujarat and outlines our mutual desire to share knowledge in the areas of education, skills development, water security, urban technology and sustainable urban development,” Premier Baird said.
“Gujarat is undergoing a major urban transformation. There are plans to build eight cities across the state, which is home to 6.2 million mostly rural residents.
“Our cultural and historic connections to India place us in a fortunate position. We have an opportunity to share knowledge and learn from each other during this major development drive, which will in turn benefit both our state economies.”
The Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT), which has similarities to Sydney’s Barangaroo project, is currently under construction in Ahmedabad.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has outlined a plan to build 100 Smart Cities featuring high-quality infrastructure and communications technologies to attract the world’s brightest minds. GIFT is India’s first Smart City under construction and Prime Minister Modi considers it the model for the nation’s development and reform.
“As part of the MOU, a delegation of planning experts from UrbanGrowth and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority will travel to Gujarat to provide insights into sustainable urban planning to the Indian state as it grows and develops,” Premier Baird continued.
“We also have much to learn from how Gujarat is meeting the challenges of its urban growth, and this MOU provides the basis for knowledge and information sharing.”
India is currently New South Wales’ third largest source of international students. In September 2014 there were more than 12,000 Indian students enrolled in NSW tertiary institutions.
“This agreement will open pathways for a two-way exchange of students between NSW and Gujarat to give students a global experience and grow networks between our states,” Premier Baird said.
“Water security and clean technology are also increasing areas of concern across India and as part of our partnership with Gujarat we’ll share expertise to assist with waste water treatment and recycling.
“Today marks the start of a new relationship that builds on our cultural connections and strengthens cooperation to grow our economies into the future,” Mr Baird said.
Two-way trade between NSW and India was valued at $1.8 billion last financial year.
Prior to his visit to India, Premier Baird released his government’s ‘India Strategy’, focused on creating favourable conditions to increase trade.
The engagement strategy has several key priority areas including:
1. Collaborate to deliver world class infrastructure
2. Export NSW capabilities to deliver smart cities in India
3. Grow two-way tourism
4. Increase skills and education exchanges with India
5. Attract Indian investment into NSW, particularly in professional services, ICT and resources
6. Grow NSW exports to India
7. Facilitate the exchange of agriculture technology and expertise
8. Grow partnerships with India
At present, India’s economic growth is outpacing population growth. Indian and Australian businesses are growing investment in one another’s market and when Indian PM Modi visited Australia last year, the Indian and Australian governments renewed their commitment to a free trade agreement.