Bengaluru, Nov 17: Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison on Wednesday said his country is seeking to establish a new Consulate General in Bengaluru, which would expand his country’s diplomatic posts in India to five. He also said Australia will deepen its ties with India’s innovators, technologists and entrepreneurs, as well as the governments at all levels, and asserted the ties that bind both nations are “indeed strong and abiding”.
According to Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the country is strengthening its technology partnership with India through the establishment of the consular office here and a Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy, also to be based in India.
“I’m pleased to let you know that Australia is also seeking to establish a new Consulate General in Bengaluru. Bengaluru is the world’s fastest growing technology hub – of course we want to be part of it. It is home to a third of India’s unicorn companies,” Morrison said. In his video message to the Bengaluru Tech Summit (BTS)-2021, he noted that Australia’s new mission in Bengaluru would expand its diplomatic presence in India to five posts.
The video message was played at the 24th edition of the BTS, that was inaugurated by Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu, Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, Minister for IT & BT, Science & Technology C N Ashwath Narayan, Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani, Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw among others. Morrison also said as the BTS is on, his country is also kicking off the first-ever Sydney Dialogue in Australia, and he was honoured that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address it tomorrow.
“This is a global summit on emerging, critical and cyber technologies – and I’m delighted to be announcing Australia’s first-ever Blueprint for Critical Technologies at that event. This signals Australia’s firm commitment to shaping the development and adoption of critical technologies internationally, including by working with trusted partners like India,” he said.
Noting that technology-leading nations will have greater economic, political and military power and considerable influence on global norms and values into the years ahead, the Australian PM said India is a major technology power. “Technology is at the forefront of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership which Prime Minister Modi and I signed last year. We’re already making great progress. We’re sharing expertise on cyber and critical technologies like quantum computing and AI. We’re working to make our supply chains more secure and resilient,” he said.
India and Australia are also collaborating on the mining and processing of critical minerals – like cobalt and lithium and rare earth elements that are vital to clean energy technologies, and have military applications. Morrison said both countries are also cooperating in space science, technology and research, and that Australia is proud to be supporting India’s inspirational ‘Gaganyaan’ human spaceflight mission. “We’re deepening our education and research links also – vital to technological cooperation, and we’re working towards a low-emissions technology partnership, which will see us combine efforts on hydrogen and ultra-low-cost solar,” he said.
Highlighting that both countries are also working with the United States and Japan through the Quad Leaders Dialogue, the PM said, “This is about four like-minded democracies coming together, from our region, to show we can make a positive difference in addressing our region’s biggest challenges.” It’s a very practical and positive partnership – fostering an open, accessible, and secure technology ecosystem. “Together, we’re working to bolster supply chain security, advance the deployment of secure 5G and beyond-5G networks, to combat cyber threats, and secure our critical infrastructure, and much more. You know, and I know, that technology isn’t developed in a vacuum,” he added.
Observing that Australia is working with like-minded countries, liberal democracies in particular, to ensure global technology rules and norms reflect liberal democratic values, Morrison said a new Australia-India Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy will contribute to that effort. “The Centre will bring together Australian and Indian technologists, policy practitioners, academics, researchers and thought leaders. Helping our nations shape technology governance so it aligns with our values and supports an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific region,” he said, adding it will also promote investment opportunities and innovation between Australia and India in technology, and amplify their policy influence globally.
Further, pointing out that Australia and India are diverse, multicultural, liberal democracies who seek a world that is prosperous, safe and secure, and where human dignity is best expressed through choice and freedom, the Prime Minister said, “we seek to lift up, not suppress. To build a better world, rather than to hold back change.”
“Our vision of the world understands the potential of technology to respond to the challenges of our time – and to lift all – to raise those living standards,” he said. “We have witnessed this so powerfully over the past 18 months, with medical breakthroughs now allowing us all to plan for a world after this pandemic.” That same capacity to innovate will be at the fore of all of our efforts addressing climate change and in transitioning to a new energy economy, he added.
Meanwhile, the Australian government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the country was strengthening its technology partnership with India through the establishment of the new Consulate-General in this city. “Bengaluru is the world’s fourth-largest technology cluster, and home to a third of India’s unicorn companies. Bengaluru and its vibrant business community will play a determinative role in India’s rise as a technological superpower. It is home to significant biotech, Aerospace and Defence industries, a thriving start-up ecosystem, India’s national space agency (ISRO) as well as leading education and research institutions,” it said in a statement uploaded on its official website The proposed Consulate-General will focus on deepening Australia’s ties to India’s vibrant innovators, technologists and entrepreneurs.
“It will support Australian businesses in one of the world’s most important commercial centres. Half of the next billion internet users are projected to be in India and India’s digital economy, centred on Bengaluru, is set to grow to USD 1 trillion by 2025,” it said. The Consulate-General will expand Australia’s diplomatic presence in India to five diplomatic posts, further to its High Commission in New Delhi and Consulates-General in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, “deepening our engagement with Indian governments at all levels. This will promote engagement with India’s southern states and our outreach to Australia’s diaspora and alumni communities,” it added. Through the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, India and Australia were at the forefront of determining the design, development and use of emerging technologies.
“As the Prime Minister said at the Bengaluru Tech Summit, we are elevating this cooperation even further. The Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy will bring together Australian and Indian technologists, policy practitioners, academics, researchers and thought leaders. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative that will help guide the responsible development and use of critical technologies,” it said It will also promote stronger investment opportunities and cutting-edge innovation in cyber, critical and emerging technologies and amplify the policy impact of the two countries globally, while visiting fellows from around the Indo-Pacific will broaden the Centre’s influence.
“The Centre of Excellence is among the flagship initiatives of Australia’s new Action Plan for Critical Technologies, and an important part of delivering on Australia’s strategy for protecting and promoting technologies, the Blueprint for Critical Technologies. It will provide a practical platform for Australia and India to work together to shape technology governance that aligns with our values and supports an open, inclusive and resilient Indo-Pacific,” it said. PTI
Story first published: Wednesday, November 17, 2021, 19:21 [IST]