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AIBC in collaboration with the ACT AIBC Chapter recently established their new Industry Chapter for Defence & Security at a time when the relationships between Australia and India is most opportune.

The QUAD agreement between Australia and India is providing significant momentum to defence cooperation and partnerships between the two countries. As also stated in the India Economic Strategy by Hon. Peter Varghese and the Australia Economic Strategy by Ambassador Anil Wadhwa the defence industry in both countries can increase technology collaborations, research partnerships, and aim to increase defence exports. As part of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP), India and Australia concluded a Mutual Logistics Support Arrangement and a Defence Science and Technology Arrangement to facilitate improved collaboration between relevant Australian and Indian organisations. 

With the theme “Partnering for Stronger Defence & Security” the AIBC Defence & Security Industry Chapter was formally launched by Hon. Peter Dutton MP Australian Defence Minister and His Excellency Manpreet Vohra, High Commissioner of India in a grand virtual event held on Tuesday 30 November 2021.

Opening the important event, Mr. Jim Varghese, National Chair of AIBC said “It is really a great day. We are strengthening bilateral partnership in Defence & security through our newly formed Industry Chapter. Over 35 years AIBC is promoting trade and Investment with a focussed and visionary approach and building partnerships and collaborations. We are further strengthening our bilateral business commitment by establishing Australia India Business Enterprise (AIBE) the commercial arm of AIBC.”

Welcoming the keynote speakers Defence Minister Peter Dutton and High Commissioner of India Manpreet Vohra, other guest speakers including Chairman of the Australian Industry Defence Network, Mr Graham Priestnall, the President of the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, Mr Jayant Patil and the participants, the AIBC ACT Chapter President Ms Radhika Reddy said “ The  ACT Chapter is very proud to launch this prestigious national Defence and Security Body here in the nation’s capital, where the heart and strategic direction of Australia’s Defence is driven and finalised. The decision to launch the Defence and Security Industry Chapter was influenced by the current strength of the relationships between Australia and India. Our decision was also influenced by the fact that both countries are regional security partners with a growing strategic convergence, and there is value in Australia and India exploring opportunities for enhanced defence industry cooperation. Having been assured on the strength and the commitments of the two partnering countries, we, as members of the AIBC ACT are invigorated to pledge our support onto this newly formed Defence and Security Chapter” 

Through a videorecorded message, Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Minister for Defence congratulated Jim Varghese, National Chair and the AIBC for its passionate pursuit of contributing to bilateral trade engagements over the years. Minister Dutton elaborated on the defence relationship between Australia and India dating back over one hundred years and outlined the various ongoing defence partnership programs such as the Malabar exercise. Minister Dutton commending on the AIBC Defence & Security Chapter said “I hope this chapter will be a pipeline which will contribute and create significant opportunities in collaborations, defence manufacturing and sharing of applications using technologies such as artificial intelligence, Quantum computing, cyber security, space, supply chain, mapping etc. Our collaboration is more important than ever”

Congratulating AIBC on the launch, the High Commissioner of India Mr Manpreet Vohra said “AIBC has done commendable work during last 35 years fostering bilateral trade relations and facilitating business to business engagements. It is very apt for AIBC to consider Defence as one more Industry chapter to increase investments and in this sector, there is a strategic interest between India and Australia. The new and exciting potential in defence manufacture is mutually beneficial. The Indian government has opened the Defence Industry for private participation and 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is now permitted. Australian businesses can take advantage of this to develop a global hub as Prime Minister of India said, “Make in India and Make it for the World.” The MOU between Australian Industry Defence Network and Society of Indian defence Manufacturers will be beneficial and hope to see AIBC Defence Chapter working closely with both AIDN and SIDM for business-to-business engagements. I wish all the success for the AIBC defence & security Chapter”

Thanking the keynote speakers and acknowledging the enthusiastic support by the AIBC team under the leadership of Mr Jim Varghese, National Chair, Joe Williams the Chair of the Defence & Security Chapter said “It gives me a great pleasure to lead this important chapter considering the huge opportunities in the bilateral sector due to huge spending in billions of dollars reflected in the Defence budgets of both Australia and India. Such opportunities exist in Defence & aerospace, start-ups, technology partnerships supported by people-to-people links. The AIBC Defence & security chapter will work with all key players and stakeholders to result in business-to-business outcomes in the Defence Market”.

The Chairman of the Australian Industry Defence Network (AIDN), Mr Graham Priestnall congratulated AIBC for its launch of the Defence & Security Chapter and outlined the AIDN organisational membership of Small to Medium enterprises engaged in innovation in defence technologies and defence manufacturing. Mr. Priestnall said that he looked forward to the close working relationship between AIDN, SIDM and AIBC Defence Chapter.

The President of the Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers, Mr Jayant Patil said “it is a special day launching the AIBC Defence & security Chapter. It is the most vibrant sector in India over last four decades contributing to indigenous capabilities in defence manufacturing and technologies, with more than eight thousand industries and 560 licenced organisations. We at SIDM look forward to work closely with AIDN and AIBC to pursue emerging opportunities”

Congratulating AIBC for the launch of the Defence & Security Chapter, Vish Viswanathan, Chair of AIBC Make in India Chapter presented an overview of the huge investments by the Australian and Indian governments to the order of more than $200 billion over the next decade to enhance defence capability. He added that to boost ‘Make in India’ in defence production, the Government of India has raised the FDI limit in defence manufacturing opportunities which allow 74% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on many nominated segments of products and services. He further stated that apart from Cyber Security which is a guaranteed market segment, there are several emerging sectors and technologies that will contribute to the trade opportunities in the defence industry like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Unmanned Mobility, Secured Communication, Surveillance and Green Technologies. 

Mr. Jorawar Sandhu from AIBC ACT Chapter stated that strategic alignment was at its best and presented a vote of thanks to all keynote speakers, participants and the AIBC support team. 

Video link of the event:

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