AIBC AFR Conference: Engaging with India: 16-17 May 2016

Date: 23 May 2016 For immediate release

Engaging with India 2016, the first annual AIBC Australia-India Trade and Investment Forum provided new insights about the growing relationship between the two countries, explored opportunities for collaboration, engagement and business and highlighted the increasing significance of the Australia-India strategic partnership. Engaging with India 2016 was presented by the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) and the Australian Financial Review. The Forum was the very first of its kind held in Australia.

The national two-day conference which was held on 16-17 May in Sydney brought together government speakers, business leaders and influencers from around Australia and India.

In his keynote address, Federal Minister for Trade and Investment, Steven Ciobo reinforced Australia’s commitment to the bilateral relationship and reaching a mutually beneficial free trade agreement with India. He encouraged conference delegates to utilise business, people and cultural links as avenues for closer integration.

Indian High Commissioner, Navdeep Suri highlighted India’s rising wealth and purchasing power, internet use and tripling of ecommerce activity and its major infrastructure and transport development. He advocated for the stepping up the tempo of the Australia-India and taking the relationship to the next level.

Social commentator and demographer, Bernard Salt explained how the demand for energy, food, commodities and better lifestyle were strong economic factors propelling the Australia India relationship.

Pawan Luthra, CEO of Indian Link Media Group outlined ways in which businesses could leverage the knowledge, skills, talent and connections of the Indian diaspora for success.

Government officials from New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia provided state perspectives on the relationship with India.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres spoke about the state’s capabilities in infrastructure, education and skills training, coal and renewable energies and tourism as avenues where NSW could meet some of India’s demand.

Ted Baillieu, former Premier of Victoria urged businesses to develop Indian cultural intelligence and spoke about the state’s focus on education, technology and tourism as industries of collaboration with the country.

Brian Hayes QC, Special Envoy to India, South Australia elaborated on the state’s renewed 10 year India Strategy which centred on the arts, sport, culture and water management and its sister state relationship with Rajasthan.

In a session about Understanding the Australia-India Relationship panellists Lindsay Fox of Linfox, Lance Hockeridge of Aurizon, Ashok Jacob of Ellerston Capital and Australia India Council and moderator Michael Blythe of CBA discussed the need for the investment of time and on the ground experience as factors for success in India and education and defence as platforms for partnership.

In a panel discussion titled Economic Co-operation – CECA and Beyond, panellists Andrew Robb Special Envoy for Trade, Dr Anuradha Guru from the Government of India, and representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, EY Australia and moderator Greg Earl of the Australian Financial Review discussed the imminent timeframe for Australia’s free trade agreement with India, its benefits and implications as well as the two countries’ common strategic interests in the Asia Pacific region.

Former Australian cricketers Glenn McGrath, and Michael Kasprowicz who is also board member of the Australia India Council and representatives from Hockey Australia and Cricket Australia discussed the business of sport, its role in soft diplomacy and the common elements required to be successful in sport and business.

In a panel discussion about Support for Fostering Australia-India Engagement, panellists Consul General of India Mr Vanlavawna, Lisa McAuley CEO of the Export Council of Australia and representatives from EFIC, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Sheba Nandkeolyar, Vice Chair Australia India Business Council discussed the role of government, export community and peak industry organisations in fostering international business, perceived barriers to doing business in India and strategies to overcome them.

In a session about international business case studies, representatives from Adani Mining, State Bank of India, University of New South Wales and Suzlon Energy and E & Y Australia presented their experiences in establishing and growing a business in each country. They explained how they identified opportunities, navigated unfamiliar business environments and cultures, built partnerships and overcame challenges to build successful enterprises.

Conference delegates also learned more about major Indian Government initiatives of Make in India, a program to make India a global manufacturing base; Skill India the plan to upskill and train 500 million people by 2022 and encourage entrepreneurship and Smart Cities, the framework to drive economic growth and improve quality of life through urban planning and provision of infrastructure, technology and essential utility services.

Engaging with India 2016 was presented by the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) and the Australian Financial Review.

The AIBC takes this opportunity to thank and acknowledge the ongoing support of partners Austrade, Indian High Commission and FICCI.

The AIBC would also like to thank corporate sponsors KPMG, EY, Fragomen, Cricket Australia, Hockey Australia, Export Council of Australia, Indian Link, and the awards gala dinner drinks sponsor Westpac.

AIBC also takes the opportunity to thank Platinum Partner, CBA for ongoing support to the AIBC.


The Australia India Business Council Ltd (AIBC) is a national membership organisation with active branches in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra. Founded in 1986, it is the only national body representing bi-lateral trade and investment relations between Australia and India.

It maintains close relationships with federal and state government agencies, the diplomatic corps and industry bodies, and showcases opportunities to the Australian business community through an active program of events nationally.

AIBC conducts a wide range of activities in Australia and India which include policy and business planning initiatives with major stakeholders including the Government of India, Government of Australia/State Governments, major government trade and investment bodies.


Julie Hallifax
National Secretariat

P: 1300 176 684
F: 1300 178 892

Leave a comment

Leave a comment

Suggest improvements to the website