Allaying fears about vandalism and attack on temples in Australia and Albanese government’s lack of action on the arsonists, Berry O Farrell High Commissioner of Australia to India said that it is unacceptable and ‘whoever is doing this, these attacks are blackening the image of Australia that does not exist elsewhere. It is concerning that there are organisations in the world seeking to disrupt the image of India to achieve something that is unacceptable,’ he said.
On Australian Universities banning Indian students the outgoing envoy informed that some migration agents are letting down students who want to study overseas by not completing forms. ‘We have seen an uptick from a small number of migration agents which are being unfair to students who have paid for their legitimate application and in return a very small numbers of universities have decided to pull the tap off all those migration agents. Its not intended to be a long term effort.’ He adviced the student to ask for a copy of the application and check for false statements to avoid themselves from embarrassment of application being rejected.’
About 86,000 Indians study at Australian universities.
Outgoing Ambassador to India Barry O Farrell, High Commissioner of Australia politician and former Governor of South New Wales was appointed High Commissioner to India by the then Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in 2020.
Talking on a range of issues between Indian & Australia at IAFAC interaction, Farell said that our new relationship is in its highest point ever. ‘India Australia relations is not only flying but speeding up.’ Farell said, ‘India will never be ignored again by Australia because of the growing Indian constituency. Indian diaspora in Australia is almost a million strong. It is increasingly influencing Australians attitude towards India. Diaspora is the greatest inspiration for Indians to come to Australia.’
On democratic institutions being undermined in India, the envoy said, ‘No democracy is perfect, Australia too is not perfect. BJP does not control all the states of India and has suffered a significant defeat only recently, is a sign of a healthy democracy in any country. We will continue to raise concerns as and when required. I don’t think it will make a difference to personal relationships, we have a level of trust and frankness in our discussions.’
He said, ‘Economically we increasingly need each other. Australia has elements that India requires to grow its economy like critical minerals, rare earth which India and other nations need for electronics, electric vehicles battery storage, a variety of manufacturing products. India can choose to get it from a close neighbor or from a trusted partner. We will assist India to grow its manufacturing as India is manufacturing & selling more to the world. We have lowered tariffs on cotton & wool.
‘We have complimentary not competitive economies. Australian companies have partnered with a couple of steel companies like Tata. It benefits the employees in India and investors in Australia. Same with renewable energy that’s providing employment to Australians and opportunities to Indians. Mahindra has invested in Australia,’ Farell informed. ‘When you do more things together not just trade deal but it also benefits Indian tech companies, stopping double taxation by Australia of their services and build trust.’
Farell said, ‘We achieved a lot whether Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, agreements on cyber & critical tech, water & mining, Defence & mutual logistic support agreements were signed. Last year our armed forces did more exercises than ever before.’
On Australia banning 5G, not naming China he said, ‘Our decision to lock out a country out of the 5 G system because we understood that this technology was more of spreading disinformation, misinformation & that the Operating systems that hang off should be made by people who abide by the norms.’