Baird meets Indian community before elections and talks about his visit to India  

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By Neena Badhwar

NSW Premier Mike Baird met select 150 members of the Indian community in Parramatta’s Deloitte on Tuesday the 23rd of February pitching himself and Indian candidates Raman Bhalla for  Blacktown and Reena Jethi for Upper House in the coming NSW elections on March 28, 2015. He talked about his recent visit to India in January when he visited ”˜Vibrant Gujarat’ global business summit  organised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Says  Mr Baird, “When I met Mr Modi I mentioned about lighting of the Opera House sails on Deepavali and he said to make sure that we  do it again this year as well.”

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Premier  Baird with the  Indian media

While pitching to the local community Mr Baird considers it quite important to pitch to India as well as he thinks that the current trade with India which stands at $1.8 billion is too low compared to China’s $30 billion. Not only NSW wants to increase this to over 20 billion, says Baird, “I feel that NSW wants to be part of this great economic narrative under Mr Modi who has 1.3 trillion plan to make India a global first class country. Mr Modi has this great vision of lifting the 30 per cent poor of India out of poverty which greatly inspires me to be part of this great vision. It was my first trip to India and I was not only surprised rather delighted and amazed at the size, the culture and vibrancy there. I could sense that something great is happening there and that India is at the dawn of a golden age. Where ever I went I found every one quite optimistic, all the ministers I met in the three cities we visited namely Ahmedabad, Delhi and Mumbai. And I decided that I will visit India every year.”

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Matt Kean,  member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Hornsby and Premier Baird with members of the Indian community

He adds, “I could see that Mr Modi is in a hurry to transform India. He is getting rid of the red tape. With a vision to create 100 smart cities we are sure that NSW can play an important role having signed an MOU with Gujarat. As part of this MOU a delegation of planning experts from UrbanGrowth and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority will travel to Gujarat to provide insights into sustainable urban planning as the Indian state grows and develops.

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Matt Kean with Dolly Kaushal Soni and Shikha Kaushik

“We also have much to learn from how Gujarat is meeting the challenges of its urban growth and this MOU provides the basis for knowledge sharing, which will benefit both our state economies.”

“In Delhi I met with about 200 NSW business leaders attending Australia Business Week in India to reinforce our message that NSW is open for business with India and will assist businesses enter the market.

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Premier in a  tête-à-tête  with Mala Mehta (Co-Ordinator IABBV Hindi School) discussing introducing Hindi language in NSW schools

“In Mumbai I met with Chief Minister  of Maharashtra to progress cooperation in the areas of water management, tourism and education as part of our Sister State relationship, established in 2012.

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Matt Kean with Rekha Rajvanshi, Co-Ordinator  for Indian Literary & Art Association of Australia (ILASA)

Mr Modi was encouraged to hear that the Baird Government considers India a priority market and has released a new India strategy, which was released on the day Mr. Baird  departed Sydney for India.

”˜India Strategy’  booklet was given to all the Indian community guests on Tuesday which  outlines  clear, short statements of NSW government intent for engaging with India to help grow relationship across trade, investment, education and tourism. “NSW is ready to take priority actions that have been suggested in this booklet in a nutshell which will form the basis for mutually beneficial economic activity.

“I assured Mr Modi our new India strategy aims to position NSW as a global leader in infrastructure development, and increase two-way trade between NSW and India, which stands at $1.8 billion,” said Mr. Baird.

The idea that Mr Modi wants to lift India’s poor by transforming India and his campaign ”˜Come and Make it in India’ inspires Mr Baird is something that should also inspire us all NRIs.

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