#NamasteMate: Indian Banks In Australia: Their Experience And Way Forward
Given the cruicial role banking and finance play in economic collaboration, bringing economies closer and strengthening bilateral ties, we take a quick glimpse on the Indian Banks In Australia, their Experience And Way Forward....

We speak with the expert- Mr. Rajesh Pillai, CEO, Union Bank of India, Sydney Branch, Australia who aptly puts forward the issues faced and experience of Indian Banks in Australia. He strongly believes, the latest trade agreement will definitely go a long way in improving the bilateral trade between both the countries and it could reap everlasting benefits if the existing issues are addressed. He further notes that Indian banks would like to stay here in Australia for long-term while contributing positively to the Australian economy by bringing in mutually beneficial services.


After years of relentless efforts by many stakeholders, a stage has been reached where we can comfortably say #NamasteMate! while referring to the Australia-India relations.

A significant progress in this direction happened in Nov 2022, with
Australia’s Parliament approving the India-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). The progress was also reflected in the statistics, when Indian commerce with Australia reached $22.49 billion in the first three quarters of 2022, up 62 percent from $13.88 billion in the same period of 2021, according to data released the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry (Inventiva,2022).

With this progress in the Australia-India relations,
there would be interests and enhanced curiosity within the Australian business community (especially the small and medium scale) to learn more about how to do business with Indian counterpart, at the ground level.  Reaching this point took many efforts, clearing barriers and crossing many obstacles. However, beyond this juncture, for the sanctity of the purpose, for mutual benefits, integrity and ingenuity of thoughts and actions should be the benchmark of progress. Hence, based on the lessons learnt from our vast experience in this space (Advocacy, Trade and People-To-People links), we launch this initiative of developing “India-Literacy Toolkit For Australian (Small & Medium) Businesses” and call it #NamasteMate so that Australian businesses can benefit from the ground knowledge of doing business in India and together benefit from a healthy and trusted business ecosystem for the sustainable development of the wider community.

The following
videoand the link to Aei4eiA's Australia-India Wing's page briefly summarises the works that we have been doing in the Australia-India space (from 2011- till date). We remain genuinely committed to raising awareness of Australia in India, and India in Australia, to help in furthering trade, cultural exchange and people-to-people links.

 #NamasteMate: Background
There has been a shift in the international order with a concept of 'Indo-Pacific` entering the geopolitical discourse. Though, there is no such unanimous definition of this concept, yet, the rise of India as an economic powerhouse and influential player in the international arena is believed to be the key reason. As one of the recently published articles rightly notes,
“For now, the Indo side of the Indo Pacific is really just India and it is more about bringing India to the Asia Pacific than stretching the footprint of Australia’s primary strategic focus all the way to the western reaches of the Indian Ocean” (The University of Queensland, 2019). 

Over the past few years, India has emerged as the trusted partner and a true democracy balancing the world order especially in the greater Indo-Pacific region. Hence, coming together of the two democracies- Australia and India is but a natural progression. Pant (2022) rightly notes, “In the past, trade was seen as a means of reducing geopolitical tensions. Let’s trade more and become friends was the mantra of the past. Today, it is moving to a phase where nations want to trade only with friends and like-minded countries. Geopolitics is driving the trade and technology agenda and it is this geopolitical convergence in the Indo-Pacific that is also driving the present upward trajectory in India-Australia relations”.

Finally, after years of negotiations, the Australia and India bilateral relations reached a new high in the recent months with the signing of the historic Australia India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA) following with Australia’s Parliament approving the India-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Acknowledging this very significant bilateral relation, Prime Minister of Australia,  Hon. Anthony Albanese said, “Australia and India are increasingly working together as strategic and economic partners. We elevated our relationship with India to a Strategic Partnership in 2009 and to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020. The Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement is the next step in elevating our relationship with India, the world’s fastest growing large economy.”  

​To begin with, the following 10 sectors categorised into three sections, have been identified to roll out the devised plans-  
A. Flagship Sector- Education
B. Lead Sector- Agribusiness, Resources, Tourism and
C. Promising Sector- Energy, Health, Financial Services, Infrastructure, Sport, Science and Innovation.

As such, the Government of both the countries plan to support greater two-way investment flows to grow the economies and help businesses expand. While a new
Simplified Trade System Implementation (STSI) is being worked out to review international trade regulations and modernise outdated ICT systems, to assist more than 57,000 Australian exporters, and more than 380,000 importers. At this point in time, both countries are focusing on building public opinion for easy legislative ratifications of the treaty (DFAT, 2022) (Palit, 2022).

As one may know, business and trade is more about people than just the cross-border exchange of goods and services. Thus, it is at this stage that a sector-specific India literacy toolkit would be of immense significance for the Australian businesses willing to expand their outreach to India, thereby enabling clear communication while bridging the skills gap and meeting the expectations. 

Also, locally, according to the 2021 Census, more than 600,000 people were born in India and now the third most common place of birth of Australian residents- an increase of 47.9% since the previous census in 2016 Cassidy, (2022). The toolkit might also be handy for local Australian businesses employing people of Indian background to understand more of the cultural context. Diaspora plays a very vital role in being the bridge between the country of their residence as well as the origin. Hence, understanding more about these cohort may help local businesses further expand to the newer geographical regions across India.

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Leveraging 'People' Power of Sustainability

 #NamasteMate: Australia India Bilateral Relations Education In Focus

At this significant juncture when the Australia-India Bilateral Relations is witnessing new highs, as part of our #NamasteMate initiative, 
we spoke with two renowned academicians who have unparalleled expertise and experiences in the higher education space, in both Australia and India and documented their insightful and invaluable insights...

There is an old Indian adage which says, “Education is the best friend and that an educated person is honoured throughout the world”.
India, being an ancient land of advanced civilisation, is known for its quest for learning and education since time immemorial. 
The much-respected ancient Indian education system focused on the development of an individual on all levels, be it technical, physical, emotional, psychological and moral. 

This was the key reason why India produced great scholars. It was because of Aryabhata the greatest Indian mathematician and astronomer from the period between 476-550 CE that the world has seen the number '0' and the complex algebras, which are still being used in any form of computer technology including AI. 
Ancient Indian education system also attracted a sizeable number of scholars and promoted exchange of scholars from all over the world. 
Though many things have changed since the ancient times, still education remained the central focus of Indian society. Currently, it is undergoing a sea-change. An ambitious plan has been laid out that of National Education Policy (NEP), which has a target to get 50 percent of young Indians (over half a billion population) into higher education and vocational education by 2035.
Accordingly, it is expected that in the next few years’ time 1 in 4 people around the world that get a university degree will get it in India. Such is the scale of demand. 
On the other hand, over the years, Australia has established itself as a leading global provider of education to international students. 
The education that is practical and hands-on focussed. Hence, there is a huge opportunity for Australia to form partnership with India in the education space. 

India-Literacy Toolkit For Australian (Small & Medium) Businesses

Overall Objective: The overall objective of this project would be to develop India-literacy for Australian Businesses.

Specific Objectives: 
a. Provide a general overview to the state of India Literacy for Australian Businesses (primarily small and medium) that would be applicable across industries/sectors.

b. India-Literacy Toolkit for Australian Businesses specific to the industries identified for this project- 

Flagship Education Sector

# Lead Sector of Agriculture and Tourism


# Promising Sector of Sport. 

We will reveal more about this project shortly. Stay tuned!


Do you have a shared interest and looking to collaborating with us or supporting our research? If you are an Academic Institution, Corporate partner, related agency or a local Australian business looking for India-specific research and consultancy services, you are welcome to Contact Us (email: info@aei4eia.com.au)