Twenty-five years ago, when he was Prime Minister of Australia, Hon. RJ Bob Hawke, launched the Australia India Business Council. And 25 years later, Hawke was present to celebrate 25 years of the AIBC, NSW.
Hawke spoke nostalgically about how he `clicked instantly’ when he met Rajiv Gandhi, late Prime Minister of India during the late 80s at CHOGM conference in the Bahamas. He invited Rajiv Gandhi to visit Australia and it was during his visit that both Prime Ministers of Australia and India, established the AIBC. The vision was singular, to promote closer relationship between Australia and India through bi-lateral business and trade relationships.
The 25-year celebratory Annual Address Dinner hosted by AIBC, NSW attracted around 500 business leaders, Federal Government & NSW Government representatives, Government of India representatives, media leaders, key stakeholders and dignitaries from Australia and India.
The event played a key role in addressing the Australia-India bilateral trade relationship and its rapid growth at a juncture where global economies are facing more challenges and opportunities than ever before. Dean Jones, famous Australian cricketer and coach, the MC for the event, brought the relationship closer, regaling his cricket day stories and the tied match played by Australia and India in Madras in 1986, the same year the AIBC was established.
AIBC NSW president Dipen Rughani welcomed the guests and stressed the role the organisation plays in encouraging bilateral trade between the two countries. He shared with the audience a round up of activities undertaken by AIBC NSW across the past year. AIBC NSW had a very busy year and promised to have an even busier year ahead in conjunction with India declaring 2012 as the Year of Australia.
A highly distinguished line-up of attendees included the Federal Minister for Trade, High Commissioner of India to Australia Hon. Dr. Craig Emerson, Her Excellency Sujatha Singh John Alexander representing Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. Andrew Stoner MP, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, John Robertson MP, NSW Leader of Opposition, Consul General of India Amit Dasgupta and MP and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Citizenship and Communities Hon. Victor Dominello. The speeches highlighted the rapid growth of trade between the two countries and further trade and investment possibilities in the Australia India business space, especially Indian investments in Australian mining, telecommunications, IT and other industries which were on the rise. Australian opportunities to be more involved with India’s growth were in the forefront of discussions and education and infrastructure were also highlighted.
Gujarat NRE Chairman Arun Jagatramka, who has significant investments in NSW, was the title sponsor of the Annual Address and in his speech highlighted the need to continue to strengthen this bilateral trade relationship.
Sujatha Singh addressed the guests on the occasion with a thought-provoking speech on the future of bilateral trade relations between the two countries and AIBC’s role in strengthening this relationship on a global scale. AIBC NSW co-vice president Sheba Nandkeolyar gave the vote of thanks.
And finally the night concluded with an Indian experience of viewing a Bollywood dance extravaganza by Shiamak Davar Productions from India and by savouring an exquisite Indian dinner.