Indian Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, who was recently on a tour to Australia once again underscored the importance of the Australia-India relationship. Calling the collaboration between the two countries a win-win situation he highlighted why Australian investor’s should invest in India’s infrastructure projects.
Speaking at the Australia India Business Council (AIBC) Business Round Table and Diwali Dinner, Mr Gadkari said that he is offering investors who will invest in the road sector in India an 8% return per year. He added that India is the fastest-growing economy and Prime Minister Modi has given the highest priority to infrastructure development in India.
The event hosted by AIBC National Chair Jodi McKay and NSW President Irfan Malik was attended by NSW Multicultural Minister Mark Coure, NSW MP and Shadow Minister for Sports and Youth Julia Finn, Consul General of India in Sydney, Manish Gupta, Deputy Mayor of Parramatta Sameer Pandey, Former NSW Minister for Housing and CEO of Western Sydney Business Chamber David Borger, Former NSW Minister for Roads Carl Scully and several eminent businesspersons and entrepreneurs.
Emphasising the importance of roads, Mr Gadkari said, ” I always remember the statement of American President John Kennedy that American roads are not good because American is rich but America is rich because American roads are good”.
Mr Gadkari mentioned that India is constructing 40kms of roads every day and that several highways are being constructed across the country that will cut travelling time for commuters. He spoke about the 1300km Delhi to Mumbai Highway, which will cut travelling time by road to 12 hours between the two cities and is likely to be ready by the end of the year.
WATCH VIDEO: Indian Union Minister Nitin Gadkari at AIBC Business Round Table and Diwali Dinner in Sydney
The Minister on a sombre note however said that road safety was a dark area and remains a crucial challenge. He mentioned that India has 500,000 accidents and 150,000 deaths every year causing a loss of 3% to the GDP due to road accidents.
He also spoke about the development of ports in India as a sector with huge opportunities and about the use of bio-ethanol as bio-fuel, the use of hydrogen to run vehicles and the manufacturing of electric cars indicating the Indian Government’s environmental considerations.
“We want to make mass traffic transport on electric, there is a huge potential in India for new technology, innovation, new research and investment”, said Mr Gadkari
AIBC National Chair Jodi McKay who had just flown back from India that morning said that India Australia relationship has never been stronger. Emphasising the need for cultural understanding, Ms McKay said,
“One of the things that I think here in Australia we need to understand more about is Indian culture because true friendship, real friendship comes with understanding”.
Speaking about Diwali Ms Mckay said that Diwali is a Hindu festival, a festival of lights that celebrates the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance, is celebrated with family and friends and that it is a very very special festival in Australia as well.
Consul General of India in Sydney, Manish Gupta, said at the event that the ECTA (Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement) agreement has been a major milestone that had provided a new fillip to the trade and economic partnership between the two countries.
The evening concluded with an interactive session with Mr Gadkari hosted by AIBC NSW President Irfan Malik where it was discussed how the ‘dosti’ between India and Australia can be accelerated and how to get outcomes.