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Attributable to Universities Australia Chief Executive Catriona Jackson:
It is a privilege to be here today representing Australia’s universities.
I acknowledge the traditional owners of the beautiful land we are meeting on today and pay my respects the elders past present and emerging.
Prime Minister Modi, thank you for your visit and all that you are doing to take Australia and India’s relationship to the next level.
There are more than 700,000 Indian-born people living in Australia today and it felt like every one of them was at Sydney Olympic Park yesterday.
Australia and India have a special relationship – underpinned by strategic and economic interests.
But most important are the bonds between our people and what we can achieve together.
A big part of that lies in education and research.
India and Australia have a proud history of educating each other, and of conducting life-changing research together.
We have 450 research partnerships between our universities and there are 90,000 Indian students studying in Australia at the moment.
More than 1.5 million Indians have graduated from Australian universities in the last 20 years.
And right now, more Indian students are studying in Australia than before the pandemic.
Both our nations are stronger for these close, person-to-person partnerships where we learn together, grow together.
They are driving progress, innovation, and prosperity here and in India.
But we can do so much more together.
Our governments are making sure of that as we enter a new golden era in our relationship.
Taking the relationship, as you say, Prime Minister Modi, to the next level.
We have made great strides already this year, with visits back and forth between our nations and at the highest levels – Prime Ministers, Ministers, CEOs, university leaders.
Two universities setting up shop in India, and Prime Minister I know many more are very keen to follow suit.
More joint degrees and mutual recognition of degrees to smooth the path for students working in India and Australia.
This is just the start.
We are all facing enormous challenges and opportunities in a fast-changing strategic and economic environment.
We can rise to those using education and research.
Australia and India have a strong history of research collaborations.
Agriculture and water security are fields in which we have made significant progress in the interests of both nations, of both our peoples.
And the sky is the limit.
You have already set the bar high with your sweeping new education plan.
You are aiming to educate 500 million students in just 12 years.
You have asked for our help in this vital endeavour.
We are a willing and committed partner.
Australia and India are united in our belief in the power of education.
The power it has to transform lives and communities and to power economies.
Prime Minister Modi, I thank you for putting education at the centre of the Australia-India relationship, right where it belongs.
Universities stand with the Australian Government – with our sleeves rolled up – to make the most of what is a golden era for Australia and India.