Opposition leader in Australia's Victoria state says maintaining good ties with India is a top priority

Melbourne: Australia's Victoria opposition leader Matthew Guy has promised to establish a sister-state relationship with an Indian state if elected, underling that maintaining good ties with India is one of the country's top priorities.

"As the world's second largest country, India is an economic superpower and one of Victoria's most important markets for food and fibre exports, international students and tourism," Guy, who visited India in 2015, said on Thursday.

"A sister-state relationship with an Indian state will promote Victoria as a desirable destination to live, study, do business and visit, allowing all Victorians to benefit from the social, economic and business opportunities created by our diaspora communities," he said.

Guy's statement has come during the ongoing visit of state premier Daniel Andrews who before leaving for his first official visit to India launched the state government's strategy document aimed towards doubling exports with India in next 10 years.

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On Victoria's India Strategy document, Guy said the latest strategy document was broad but has missed out on the specifics of how to achieve the targets set by the current ruling government. "It's fine to have broad goal but broad goals across the whole country (India) does not make sense. You need to focus your relationship," Guy commented.

Explaining his strategy towards India if elected to power, Guy said that the establishment of a sister-state relationship will further strengthen Victoria's existing relationship with India, providing a strong foundation for professional and business relationships to form and flourish, while recognising the immense contribution of our Indian community to Victoria.

In a bid to identify a sister state, the politician said, that Indian community as well business living in Victoria would be playing a crucial role in helping select which Indian state Victoria should partner with. "This will be done through wide consultation with the Indian community and a formal submission process," he said.

"We need to engage India on education, health and we understand that but we need to hone where we want to be," Guy said stressing on the need to establish a sister state relation which will be more targeted in terms of building partnership.

Victoria, a popular tourist destination, is Australia's second-most populous state and is home to a large number of Indian-origin people. The 2016 distribution by state and territory showed Victoria had the largest number of Indians with 169,802 followed by New South Wales at 143,459, according to a local media report.


Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 14:06 PM

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