“Australia must do more to embrace emerging India” – ANU conference

Australia’s emphasis on the rise of China in the Asia Pacific has left the nation falling behind in its relationship with the region’s other emerging power ”“ India.

Speaking ahead of The Australian National University’s (ANU) India Update conference, event convenor Dr Assa Doron said Australia must do more to understand India or risk losing enormous potential benefits.

“We are falling behind and that is to our detriment. The emphasis on China has blinded us to this neighbouring giant in India which in many ways has more affinities with Australia,” Dr Doron said.

“What I’m hoping is that we haven’t missed the train. There are so many countries that are courting India at the moment that unless we increase our interest in India, they will see Australia as merely a peripheral country.

“India is an economy which will thrive for many years, their labour pool is almost infinite. But in order to tap into this you can’t simply focus on economics, you need to understand Indian culture and ways of life. For example, everyone is talking about India huge youth dividend that will boost its economic standing over the next few decades. But we need a far deeper cultural understanding of the needs, wants and aspirations of this youth in order to productively engage with it. ”

Statistics released by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection show 34,874 immigrants from India arrived in Australia in the 2014-15 year, more than any other country of origin.

Dr Doron said Australia needs to build ties in research and government to get a better understanding of India as a country.

“It can’t just be about the economy, milking the Indian cow for what it can provide. We need a more holistic appreciation of India’s languages, culture and society which is required if we want to get India’s attention,” he said.

Media are invited to attend the India Update.

Speakers include:

  • Professor Nivedita Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru University, author of Seeing like a Feminist (2012).
  • Dr Meera Ashar, ANU at the School of Culture, History, Deputy Director of the South Asia Research Institute.
  • Professor Michael Wesley, Dean of the College of Asia and the Pacific.

WHAT: Ideas from India: an update on contemporary India.

WHEN: 10-11 November 2016.

WHERE: Hedley Bull Lecture Theatre, Hedley Bull Centre (130), Garran Road, ANU.

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