Following meetings last week in Melbourne between Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne, and India’s Minister of External Affairs Dr S. Jaishankar, the Morrison Government has announced three new initiatives to strengthen ties between India and Australia.
These ‘maitri’ (friendship) initiatives aim to foster cooperation, creativity, exchange, and understanding between the two countries.
A scholarship program worth $11.2 million has been allotted for Indian students to study at Australian universities. It will particularly focus on science, health, engineering, mathematics, and technology. This follows a key announcement in November to increase the stay period of the post-studies temporary graduate (subclass 485) visa for Masters by Coursework graduates from two to three years. These major changes are geared towards making Australia an attractive destination for international students once again.
Additionally, a $3.5 million grants and fellowships program has been allotted to support Australian and Indian professionals on strategic research and academic priorities.
Through a $6.1 million cultural partnership, India and Australia aim to promote cultural exchanges and artistic talent in the fields of film, television, music, and the performing arts.
Following meetings between the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan MP and India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal in New Delhi, the Government has also renewed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Tourism Cooperation. With this, tourism operators will be able to make the most of Australia’s fully reopened international borders from 21 February.
The meeting also launched the Australia India Infrastructure Forum, a hub to promote two-way investment in infrastructure and support broader trade and investment objectives.
These initiatives follow the signing of the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in June 2020 towards increased cooperation and exchange.