Date & Time: 19th of October, 2022
Venue: CPPR Conference Room
Chief Guest: Ms Sarah Kirlew, Australian Consul General to South India
Summary of Discussions
Introduction : Cooperation between India and Australia
Maritime Security and the Chinese Factor in Indo Pacific
Mr. KV Thomas, Senior Fellow at CPPR enquired about the CG’s world view on Maritime Security and the Chinese Factor in the Maritime Security programme of Australia. He said that the Australian governments in the past had stated that no serious conflict would happen in the Indo-Pacific due to Chinese factors and that Australia had shifted importance to the South West Pacific. In response to that question, the Consul General stated that Australia has a special focus in the South Pacific and that the South China sea is where Australia strives to take an active approach. She stated that Australia will take an active approach consistent with international law and will work forward to cooperate with ASEAN Countries and that there is a potential for clash as well.
ODA loans by Australia
In response to the follow up question asked by KV Thomas on cutting of ODA loans by Australia, the Consul General stated that the development projects have actually grown up to over 4.5 billion USD, and that there are special allocations being provided.
Exploration and extraction of Minerals with Respect to Climate Change
Dr Dhanuraj brought up the issue regarding the usage of minerals by Australia and the importance of the issue in the climate change discourse in the global political community to which the Consul General stated that Australia believes the solution to climate change is technology.
Bilateral Arrangement in ‘Knowledge Sharing’
Dr Shakila T Shamsu, special advisor to CPPR enquired about bilateral arrangements in the field of education as well as relations with CPPR and other think tanks for cutting edge technology, training and facility. The Consul General replied that she is in favour of teaching and knowledge sharing partnerships, and added that a model she liked was the concept of Joint degree programmes.
Challenges India Faces
During the conversation, Consul General Sarah enquired about the “Major challenges India faces” to which, KV Thomas replied that Terrorism, cross border dryu trafficking were some of the major challenges. Dr Shelly John also added that India faces challenges in respect to protecting its territories.
India’s Position in the current political structure
Adding to the discussion, the assistant Consul General asked Dr Shelly Johny about India’s success and influence in the international political structure to which Dr Shelly, Senior Fellow at CPPR replied that India faces certain challenges and is trying to project a stronger image. He also added that in the current circumstances, situations are favourable with India’s multilateralism. Dr Harishankar, Research Fellow at CPPR also added that the FTAs of India are following the western template, and that a few countries including Australia are not happy with the decision. He also stated that one way to look at the issue is by reflecting how India is transforming itself.
Prominence of Internal Economy of a Country
Dr Dhanuraj talked about how the international economy inevitably plays a major role for investors. Adding to the conversation, the Consul General stated that states which can provide interesting packages would play a significant role in facilitating ease of doing business. She enquired “what does the future look like for Kerala’s Economy which has a strong tourism sector but lacks industrial base”. Dr Shakila replied stating that there is a lot of initiative happening in Kerala. She also added that Kerala has an elevated position in the area of soft power.
Fluctuation of PR Rules
KV Thomas enquired about the fluctuation of PR rules in Australia resulting in students finding difficulty in getting jobs to which the Consul General replied that the PR rules hasn’t been fluctuating and that there might have been some disruption during the Covid time.
As a final note, Dr Dhanuraj conveyed his thanks and expressed the interest in continuing the communications between CPPR and the Consulate.