The New Colombo Plan



By Rekha Bhattacharjee

The original ”˜Colombo Plan’ will be 63 years next month.

The Colombo plan in the 1950s was under the leadership of Richard Casey as Minister for External Affairs. It was his effort to build relationship with Asian Nations.

In 1996 the Coalition government foreign minister Alexander Downer had tried to get the Colombo tradition in foreign policy.

This month the Foreign minister Julie Bishop announced at the National Press Club ”“ about Abbott governments high hopes that the “New Colombo Plan” will lead to more people to people links and improve relations with Asian nations in the program.

In the old ”˜Colombo Plan’ that commenced in 1951 ”“ thousands of Asian students were sponsored to study in Australia ”“ as aid to South and South East Asia. One way flow of Asian students to Australia.

The new Plan- the signature policy in foreign affairs – Foreign Affairs minister Julie Bishop talked about the New Colombo Plan which provides support for Australian students to study and undertake internships in a partner Asian country. According to Minister Bishop ”“ “the ”˜long view’ is Australia’s engagement in the region ”“ “people to people linkage overtime” ”“ break down barriers to greater communication.”

The New Colombo Plan has started in February 2014 with 24 Universities sending more than 300 students to study, language training and internship.

This year’s pilot program involves Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Next year it will be broader. In the past many Indians have availed of the Australian Colombo Plan for short training for government officers.

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