'Australia seeking Indian investments after Modi's visit'

Kolkata, Jan 13: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit resulting in a "change of mindset", Australia is seeking Indian investments, a senior industry professional said.

"Modi's recent visit has resulted in furthering the relationship between Australia and India and I see India as a major partner (for Australia) in the coming five years," Stephen Roger, the executive director (APAC region) of global professionals association BKR International, told IANS here.

'Australia seeking Indian investments'

The major investment areas for Indian firms are in infrastructure, IT, agriculture and property development.

"Indians have the knowledge and skills to turn barren land into productive (agricultural) land. Since middle Australia is mostly arid and desert, there is an immense potential for Indian investment in this sector... we need to bring in expertise in Australia," he said.

According to Roger, who facilitates Indian firms to set up business in Australia, the government is providing various incentives in research and development for Indian firms as well as assisting the companies with major project facilitation (MPF) schemes.

"Our tourism MPF service is growing ten-fold since the last three years and the government is encouraging fresh foreign investment in the country," he said.

The MPF service is an Australian specific programme which extends correct identification and facilitation of government assistance projects to individuals and firms opting to invest in the country.

However, Roger cautioned that even though Indian firms may find it "cheap and easy" to expand to Australia, acquisition as well as winding up operations is tough under the country's law.

"...The issue crops up when somebody wants to acquire a firm in Australia. The government doesn't want outside businesses to take over Australian firms or encourage foreigners to buy them," he said.

According to Roger, if the level of trade engagement continues at the present momentum, Australia will become India's eighth largest trading partner by 2020 from its existing figure at fourteen.


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