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Embracing Diversity – Australia’s Growing Affection for India and Its People

 Embracing Diversity – Australia’s Growing Affection for India and Its People

Australia, with its vibrant multicultural fabric, has seen a growing affection for India and its people, rooted in shared histories as former British colonies. This shared past has fostered mutual respect and understanding, setting the stage for a rich bilateral relationship.

The Indian diaspora in Australia has seen remarkable growth. As of the 2021 Census, there were over 721,000 people of Indian origin in Australia, making up about 2.8% of the population, a significant increase from just over 455,000 in the 2016 Census. This burgeoning community has introduced a myriad of Indian cultural elements to Australia.

The cultural impact is evident in the widespread celebration of Indian festivals and the popularity of Bollywood. Indian festivals like Diwali and Holi are celebrated with great enthusiasm in major Australian cities, reflecting the nation’s embracement of Indian culture.

India is a key economic partner for Australia. In 2020-21, the trade between the two countries stood at approximately AUD 24.3 billion. Additionally, Indian students form a substantial part of the international student community in Australia, with over 37,000 Indian student enrolments in Australian universities in 2020, despite the pandemic.

Politically, Australia and India have engaged in significant cooperation. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, involving the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, highlights the countries’ aligned interests in a stable Indo-Pacific region.

The everyday interactions between Australians and Indians have grown with the Indian population’s rise. Language classes for Hindi and Punjabi are increasingly popular, reflecting Australians’ interest in Indian culture.

Indian cuisine has become a staple in Australia, with Indian restaurants flourishing across the nation. Cricket, a shared passion, further unites the two countries, with high-profile matches drawing large audiences in both nations.

Indian arts, including Bollywood cinema, dance, and music, have found a receptive audience in Australia, highlighting the growing cultural exchange.

The future of this relationship is promising, with the Australian government’s India Economic Strategy aiming to lift India into Australia’s top three export markets by 2035, and to make India the third-largest destination in Asia for Australian outward investment.

Australia’s fondness for India and its people symbolises a relationship built on mutual respect and shared values. This bond, strengthening over time, is a testament to the power of cultural diversity and international friendship.

The relationship between Australia and India, deepening and diversifying over the years, stands as a shining example of international cooperation and cultural harmony, bridging continents and cultures.

Nayan Chandra

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