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Australia-India Ties on Technology

The India-Australia bilateral relationship has grown, progressing along an upbeat path into a close alliance. The two countries have a lot in common, underpinned by shared principles of pluralistic, responsible and parliamentary governments, growing economic commitment and increasing high-level synergies on multiple issues1.

In recent years, the India-Australia bond has mapped a unique course of metamorphic growth. The partnership has witnessed exponential growth in cooperation structures and expanded to a comprehensive spectrum of different areas, initiating new opportunities at bilateral and international levels. With growing convergences of opinions on several global concerns such as global terrorism and a shared strategy to a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific area, the two major democracies of the region have opened their bilateral relationship into international partnerships and plurilateral arrangements, including the Quad with Japan and USA.

Science and innovation are vital to India sustaining its economic growth in the future. It comes from a vast skill base and various world-recognised technology packages and start-up ecosystems. India is drawing an increasing flow of investment in research and development. Australia is also striving to prioritise science and innovation until 2035 and benefit from its partnership with India2.

At the Bengaluru Tech Summit (BTS 2021), Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison discussed establishing a technology alliance with India by launching a new Consulate-General in Bengaluru and a Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy.

The world’s fourth largest technology cluster and a site to a third of India’s unicorn companies, Bengaluru will play a compelling role in India’s rise as a technological world power. It is home to eminent aerospace, defence and biotech industries, a thriving start-up ecosystem, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), and various renowned research and education institutions.

The new Consulate General will foster India’s innovators, technologists, and businesspeople to Australia’s nexuses. It will back Australian companies in one of the world’s most prominent business hubs. By 2025, India’s digital economy with a focus on Bengaluru is estimated to rise to $ 1 trillion as half of the next billion internet subscribers are forecasted to be in India3.

India and Australia are the vanguards of developing technologies design, development, and use through their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The initial steps of the Cyber and Critical Technology Partnership and its respective grants programs are critical to enhancing the relationship of both the countries today. With the establishment of the Centre of Excellence for Critical and Emerging Technology Policy, India advanced the collaboration even further by guiding the expansion and application of critical technologies. This centre is a multi-stakeholder ambition which will unite Australian and Indian policy practitioners, technologists, and researchers.

Both Australia’s and India’s policy influence will magnify globally. The Centre of Excellence is among the flagship initiatives of Australia's new Action Plan for Critical Technologies. It is a crucial part of delivering Australia’s approach for supporting and preserving technologies, the Blueprint for Critical Technologies. It presents an opportunity for India and Australia to strive together to develop technology governance that aligns with principles and maintains an accessible, resilient, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.

India, like Australia, requires outputs from science and innovation to improve productivity and sustain economic growth. Science and innovation also support solving common challenges, from managing water resources to remotely providing infrastructure, well-being, and learning services. India is rising as a global centre for research and development, and Australia has much to attain from interacting with India in science and innovation. Connecting Australia's research and development foundation with India's story of economic growth could be fruitful cooperation for both nations and will help promote more extensive commitments across other sectors of their economies.

This blog has been authored by Bhakti Jain and Devika Chawla