Aus pins hopes on ‘education diplomacy’ with India

Aus pins hopes on ‘education diplomacy’ with India

At a time when it is planning to give its India strategy a push, the Australian government is pinning its hopes on the increased influx of Indian students in the country as a diplomatic channel.

“As with any overseas market, but perhaps even more so for vast and diverse India, knowing the right people can make all the difference. This is where our deep and growing education relationship with India bodes so well for a rich and vibrant future,” Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Government of Australia, said here at the opening remarks of his speech at the AFR-India Business Summit 2018

More than 75,000 Indian students enrolled in Australian education institutions last semester alone, according to Birmingham.

Of late, India has seen an increase in the number of students who want to study in Australian Universities and colleges. In fact, education-related travel contributed A$ 3,431 million (approximately Rs 17,700 crore) to Australian services exports in 2017, highest in the services category. In its India Economic Strategic Strategy-2035, on which Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is expected to make an announcement by today afternoon, Australia has stated, “Australian education services can help train the next generation of Indians”.

“75,000 students in one semester: that’s a lot of friendships, a lot of contacts, a major brains trust and a cultural understanding that will transcend our business, commercial, cultural, governmental, diplomatic and security contacts and relations for years to come,” Birmingham told the gathering here.

There had been concerns in India after the racial attacks on students in Sydney, but according to the officials in New South Wales (NSW) Police Department, they have taken many measures to engage foreign students, including from India.

In fact, several Indian students that DH spoke to are of the opinion that the city is safe. "I had a hard time convincing folks back home when I decided to go to Sydney for higher education. But then, contrary to perception, I have not faced any racial discrimination here. In fact, this city seems very multicultural," said an Indian student studying at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).


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