Australia will showcase its skills and capabilities before Indian businessmen in tier-II and tier-III cities.

With Coimbatore covered already and trade relations established among five firms, cities such as Madurai and Tiruchi will be covered in the next few months, said Aminur Rahman, Australian Consul-General and Trade Commissioner for Southern India, on Monday.

“We had drawn up a three-year programme to cover 20 major cities, 20 tier-II cities and 10 tier-III cities in India. We have covered more than 50 per cent of our schedule. Our next focus is Madurai and Tiruchi.

“We will lend a helping hand for formulation of a marina on Andaman and Nicobar islands. We are also interested in helping the Chennai Port to set up a marina, but yet to get the details,” Mr. Rahman told The-Hindu.

For the last three years, the Australian Trade Commission has conducted awareness programmes in tier-II cities such as Jaipur, Mangalore, Puducherry, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore. Major cities and metros were avoided as they are covered on a regular basis. The new initiative resulted in Australia getting adequate exposure.

Addressing business delegates at a conference on ‘Winning business and investment with Australia,' organised by the Australian Trade Commission in partnership with Gujarat NRE Coke and supported by the University of Wollongong and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), he said several Indian firms had shown interest in setting up biotech firms in Australia.

Opportunities also existed in sectors such as mining, oil and gas and clean energy.

“This is the sixth out of the eight-part series of conferences being held in different parts of the country. The next two meets will be held in Bangalore and Hyderabad. Overall, we have addressed more than 1,000 delegates. Our idea is to see that southern cities also got enough exposure. We want Australian firms to set up office and invest in south,” he said.

Peter Varghese, Australian High Commissioner to India, said Australia wanted to raise the bilateral relationship with India, have multi-lateral co-operation on several issues and build people-to-people network.

“The interest of Australia in India is increasingly converging. The convergence has led to two of us working closer for mutual benefit in the areas of economic, trade and investment.

“In the next 10 to 15 years, India will be among the top 4-5 countries that matter most. India will be in the top bracket along with the US, Indonesia and China. This is the starting point for emergence of India as a significant economic partner… The improved bilateral relationship will send a positive message to the trade in each country, about market access and regulation.”

Bilateral trade had increased over 25 per cent in the last five years. India was the fourth largest export market for Australia and set to become the third largest export market.

He urged corporates to take the people-to-people partnership to new levels. “While the bilateral trade between India and Australia is A$22 billion, investment per year is A$3 billion. There is enormous place for both of us. Indian firms can make investment in resource sector.”

T.T. Ashok, Deputy Chairman, CII Southern Region, said India had a good relationship with Australia and, in the long run, it should be converted into stronger, longer and a sustainable one. “Australia is really interested to work with India. The investments can be made in skill development, education among others.”

The seminar showcased Australia's expertise in food and beverage, agribusiness, hospitality, infrastructure, building and construction, clean energy, financial services, health and medical, machinery, manufacturing and nanotechnology, urban infrastructure, automotive, water management, fashion and franchising and sport services.