Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has outlined Australia's blueprint for future engagement with India. "Australia's relationship with India has perhaps the greatest potential to grow out of all of Australia's significant bilateral relationships in Asia," Xinhua quoted Rudd as saying.
There are 450,000 people of Indian descent in Australia, the fourth largest migrant community in Australia. "There is no greater symbol of the ties we share with India than the contribution and successes of the Indian diaspora who have made Australia home," Rudd said.
With a current population of 1.2 billion, India is projected to overtake China as the world's most populous nation by 2028. The India Country Strategy launched on Saturday outlines a vision of where Australia's relationship with India should be in 2025 across community, business and government.
It outlines a plan for deepening cultural understanding by increasing fluency of Hindi in Australian schools and working with the significant Indian community in Australia. The strategy aims to achieve a threefold increase of two-way trade by 2025, with India becoming one of Australia's top five trading partners.
India is currently Australia's 10th largest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth 17.5 billion AU dollars ($15.79 billion). India's growing middle class, estimated to reach 606 million by 2030, is creating new opportunities for Australian exporters.
In 2009, Prime Minister Rudd and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh elevated the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership. Since then, Australia and India have exchanged over 50 high-level visits. Leaders now meet annually.
Under the India Country Strategy, Australia will continue to strengthen government dialogue, including in forums such as the East Asia Summit and the G20, and build a more comprehensive defence and security relationship.
According to the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper, five country strategies will be released, covering Australia's five major relationships in Asia. Ealier in July, Rudd released the Indonesia Country Strategy when he visited Jakarta. The remaining three, covering China, Japan and South Korea, will be released in the coming months.