Australia shows commitment to ties with India: Envoy

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New Delhi, May 9 (IANS) Following the Australian governments decision to open a new Consulate General in Kolkata and extend the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF), Australian High Commissioner Harinder Sidhu said on Wednesday that this shows her country’s commitment to expand ties with India.

Welcoming the announcements that were part of the Asutralian national budget presented on Tuesday, Sidhu said in a statement that this will “cement Australia’s commitment to India as a first tier partnership”.

“The opening of the Consulate General in Kolkata will take the total number of Australia’s diplomatic posts in India to four, in addition to the High Commission in New Delhi and Consulates General in Mumbai and Chennai,” she said.

“The Consulate General in Kolkata will strengthen bilateral trade and investment, particularly in the mining and resources sectors. We look forward to strengthening our engagement with West Bengal and surrounding states.”

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Australia was also committed to continuing the successful AISRF, under new measures providing A$20 million over the next four years to enhance Australian innovation in Asia under the existing Global Innovation Strategy of the National Innovation and Science Agenda.

“India has, and continues to be, an important partner to Australia in innovation and science,” Sidhu said.

“The AISRF is Australia’s largest fund dedicated to bilateral research and is at the cornerstone of our scientific partnership.”

–IANS

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