Albanese goes into bat to score more trade with India

Dominic Giannini |

Australian businesses and researchers can play a key role in cutting India’s carbon emissions, the prime minister says.

Climate, trade, security and cricket will be on the agenda as Anthony Albanese prepares to head to India for his first in-country innings to the nation as prime minister. 

Mr Albanese will lead a business delegation of representatives from sectors including mining, energy, aviation, education and finance, as well as the trade and resources ministers, to discuss renewable energy and defence co-operation. 

And he will find time to drop into the fourth Test in Ahmedabad as Australia tries to level the series against the home side.

One key area of discussion will be climate-related technology, with India setting the goal of 50 per cent renewable energy and 30 per cent electric vehicles by 2030.

“India’s ambitious goals of 50 per cent renewables and 30 per cent electric vehicles by 2030 provide an opening for Australian manufacturing and resources,” Mr Albanese said on Tuesday.

Value-added products such as batteries, storage and charging technology, solar panels, electrolysers and zero-carbon fertilisers would also be important for the Indian economy.

The prime minister said there was plenty of room to expand the relationship, given India was Australia’s sixth largest goods and services trading partner.

“We have a rich friendship underpinned by shared democratic values, bonds between our people, and an affectionate but fierce sporting rivalry,” he told parliament. 

“What we need to do is to make sure that we continue to develop the relationship.”

He said diversifying trade markets would make the Australian economy more resilient and secure.

Mr Albanese, who first travelled to India as a backpacker in 1991, will visit Mumbai, New Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said boosting the relationship with India was more important than ever.

He said India was an incredibly important trading partner with cultural and defence links with Australia. 

“The diaspora community here, an integral part of modern Australia, (are) wonderful Australians,” he told parliament.

“The Diwali events and others that we go to regularly just show how rich the culture is and the engagement of young people in the Indian community in those events is quite a remarkable sight.”

Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said the benefits in the areas of clean energy and education were “overwhelming”, given India was set to become the most populous nation by 2024 and grow its economy by more than 50 per cent by 2026.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also welcomed the trip, with chief executive Andrew McKellar saying the delegation was a good opportunity to cement future trading opportunities.

“Increasing access to Indian markets will help Australian businesses diversify, bringing immense benefits to local industries through growing exports across sectors like education, agriculture and critical minerals,” he said.

The region faces energy and food insecurity and a more assertive China.

Australian universities are looking to capitalise on the 500 million-strong student market expected by 2035. 

Universities Australia chief executive Catriona Jackson, who will travel to New Delhi, said India had emerged as a crucial partner for the tertiary education sector. 

“This is a golden period in our education relationship with India. We must grasp it with both hands,” she said.