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Media Release

Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has elevated our bilateral engagement

Honourable Simon Birmingham at AIBC interactive session

We have elevated our relationship to the status of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Australia has such arrangements with only a select group of nations, signalling our desire for mutual understanding, our trust, in this case our shared values of democracy and law and commitment to reenergize all aspects of our relationship, especially the upward trajectory in our economic partnership” said Honourable Simon Birmingham, Federal Minister of Trade & investment during the virtual interactive session organized by Australia India Business Council (AIBC) on 28 September on “ Moving forward in Australia India trade and emerging opportunities ”. The interactive session was jointly organized by the AIBC Industry chapters (Make in India, Agribusiness and Health) and supported by AIBC South Australia State Chapter.

Honourable Simon Birmingham stated “We see the CSP as an opportunity to build on the strategies that we’ve deployed and implemented over recent times and continue to do so. The work, Jim (AIBC National Chair) that you lead that has led us in the direction of seeing some 25 practical initiatives being pursued as a nation, helping to deepen and integrate our relationship with India.”

Opening the interactive session, Mr Jim Varghese – AIBC National Chair said “The nine Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) agreements were signed following the virtual meeting of the Prime Ministers of India and Australia which carried one unanimous message “time is ripe now”.” Mr Jim Varghese stated that bilateral trade has gained further momentum in Agribusiness, Manufacturing, Pharmaceutical research, among many other sectors, and AIBC was showcasing a Make in India success story of Medsurge Healthcare established in Australia and now in India.

A videoclip was presented on Medsurge Healthcare, an ISO 9001 certified and TGA approved Australian pharmaceutical company which was established in 2007 and has emerged as a successful healthcare business organization catering to over 900 pharmacies and 1000 hospitals in Australia with a vison” we value life”. In 2019, Medsurge acquired a pharma unit in Bangalore India to manufacture injectable liquid sterile formulations with an objective to contribute to the global supply chain thus becoming a true “ Make in India – Make it for the World” success story.

Kam Phulwani, the founder of Medsurge stated that “COVID-19 has created an enormous pressure in pharmaceutical supply chain in Australia and globally. Our team in Medsurge responded quickly in meeting the demands of medicines in Australia. Given strategic importance, Medsurge is committed to self-sufficiency, bilateral trade, invest in collaboration pharmaceutical research in cutting edge technologies and assist in Australia becoming a leading exporter of pharmaceuticals and domestic economic recovery. Medsurge would like to work with the Australian Government to make this a reality.”

Congratulating Medsurge and AIBC, Honourable Simon Birmingham said “One thing that this audience very much clearly has in common is that appreciation of the strength of opportunity between our trade and investment relationship. I do not need to convince the AIBC members of India’s promise, those economic opportunities. And this is a forum where the commitment is one that is a shared commitment to the relationships, to be able to make practical gains and to stay on course. And certainly, companies like Medsurge provide a demonstration of the headway that is being made.”

Honourable Simon Birmingham also responded to some queries in the limited interactive session with some of the Chairpersons of key AIBC Chapters.

Responding to the query by Mr Vish Viswanathan – Chair – AIBC Make in India Chapter on the possibilities of achieving a limited Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India to boost bilateral opportunities in Manufacturing, Agriculture and Green Hydrogen energy and any challenges, Minister Simon Birmingham stated “That all bilateral FTAs are always challenging. We will step up our efforts in achieving an FTA with India in good faith.

Responding to the query by Mr Con Livissianis- Chair – AIBC Agribusiness Chapter suggesting if the Australian Government could consider funding a bilateral exchange program for bio security experts from Australia and India for 12 months, Honourable Simon Birmingham said “He would take the suggestion onboard adding that that currently bilateral biosecurity engagement was slow and more progress was required in this space moving forward.” 

Responding to the query from Dr Tanya Unni – Chair – AIBC Health Chapter on how could Australia take positive advantage of challenges in India due to Covid 19 into real investment opportunities in Health Sector, Honourable Simon Birmingham said “That there would be huge opportunities in Digital Health, eCommerce, collaboration in vaccine development in meeting challenges emanating from COVID-19.”

The very lively interaction session with Honourable Simon Birmingham – Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment concluded with a vote of thanks presented by Deepa Matthew, President – AIBC South Australia Chapter. Deepa thanked the Minister, AIBC National Chair, Chapter Chairs, event sponsors Deloitte and Thomas Greer and the event support team members.

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About Australia India Business Council:

As the pre-eminent business council in Australia, the AIBC is an innovative business advocacy organisation whose purpose is to promote bilateral trade and expand Australia-India commercial ties. AIBC provides its members with a forum to provide input into the policy and agenda for both countries, exchange business ideas, and provide networking opportunities through interaction across government and business groups. The AIBC maintains close relationships with federal and state government agencies, the diplomatic corps and industry bodies, and showcases opportunities to the Australian business community through an active program of events nationally.


Jim Varghese AM

National Chair AIBC Ltd

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