Australia–India relations are the foreign relations between the Republic of India and the Commonwealth of Australia. Before independence Australia and India were both part of the British Empire and both are members of the Commonwealth of Nations. They also share political, economic, security, lingual and sporting ties. As a result of British colonisation, cricket has emerged as a strong cultural connection between the two nations, as well as the English language.
The ties between Australia and India started immediately following European settlement of Australia in 1788. On the founding of the penal colony of New South Wales, all trade to and from the colony was controlled by the British East India Company, although this was widely flouted.
The Western Australian town of Australind (est. 1841) is a portmanteau word named after Australia and India. Australian towns of Cervantes, Northampton and Madura (est. 1876) were used for breeding cavalry horses for the British Indian Army during the late 19th century. The horses were used in the North-West Frontier Province (now Pakistan). Madura's name is likely to have originated from the Tamil Nadu city of Madurai.
After World War II, the Australian government of Ben Chifley supported the independence of India from the British Empire to act as a frontier against communism. Later, under Robert Menzies, Australia supported the admission of India as a Republic to the Commonwealth Nations.
Issues regarding expatriates
In 2007 Mohamed Haneef, an Indian citizen working in Australia, was detained and his visa was cancelled after it was found that he was the second cousin of two men arrested for involvement in terrorist attacks in the UK; one later died of injuries. The Australian Federal Court criticised the Australian Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews for his conduct. The Government of India and the Human Rights Commission were concerned about the treatment of Haneef and the Australian High Commissioner to India was summoned to Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. Haneef won both cases against the Government of Australia, his visa was restored and he was cleared of any alleged links to religious terrorism.
2009–10 attacks on Indian students
In 2009 relations were strained between the two nations by attacks against Indian students, dubbed "curry bashings" by some sections of the media, in Australia. Police had denied any racial motivation but this was viewed differently by the government in India and students in Australia, leading to high-level meetings with Australian officials. As a result of this, the largest trade union in Bollywood placed a ban on filming in Australia until the Australian government took action. There were also calls in the Indian community to apply a travel ban on Australia. In India, the attacks contributed to stereotypes of a racist Australia.
In January 2010, Nitin Garg, an Indian graduate with permanent residence in Australia, was stabbed to death. His attacker, a fifteen-year-old male, was sentenced to thirteen years in 2011. As the only Indian student to die violently in Australia since intense Indian media coverage of the violence started in May 2009, his death was immediately described as a "race attack" by Indian media, sparking strong expressions of anger and anti-Australian sentiment in India. The motive for murder was later found to be the result of a spontaneous attempt to rob Garg of his mobile phone.
Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna described the murder as a "heinous crime on humanity" which was creating "deep anger" in India and "certainly will have some bearing on the bilateral ties between our two countries".
India first established a Trade Office in Sydney, Australia in 1941. It is currently represented by a High Commissioner in the embassy at Canberra and Consulate generals in Sydney and Melbourne. Australia has a High Commission in New Delhi, India and Consulates in Mumbai and Chennai.
Besides both being members of the Commonwealth of Nations, both nations are founding members of the United Nations, and members of regional organisations including the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation and ASEAN Regional forum.
Trade between Australia and India dates back to late 18th century and early 19th century When coal from Sydney and horses from New South Wales were exported to India. As of 2010[update], bilateral trade between the two countries totaled USD$18.7 billion, having grown from A$4.3 billion in 2003. This is expected to rise to touch the mark of US$40 billion by end of year 2016. Trade is highly skewed towards Australia. Australia mainly exports Coal, non-monetary Gold and Copper Ore and agricultural goods to India, while India's chief exports are pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, textiles and clothing. Over 97,000 Indian students enrolled in Australia in 2008, representing an education export of A$2 billion.
India and Australia conducted a joint naval exercise, termed Malabar 2007, in the Indian Ocean alongside the USA and Japan. In 2007, the Australian government led by John Howard of the Liberal Party agreed in principle to sell uranium to fuel India's nuclear reactors. Howard reversed a previous policy of not selling uranium to non-signatories of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, saying that it would lessen the burden on fossil fuels and encourage India to join the nuclear mainstream. However the Kevin Rudd-led Labor Party government that came to power later that year, rescinded the plan and reverted to the previous policy of not selling to non-NPT signatories. Subsequently, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard did a backflip in November 2011 and announced that she would push her party to support uranium sales to India. Shortly afterwards, it was reported that Australian foreign minister Kevin Rudd had suggested a security pact between India, Australia and the United States, but this possibility was immediately rejected by Indian authorities. Later, the Australian government denied suggesting such a pact and claimed that Kevin Rudd had been misquoted by media outlets.
One of the prominent ties is a shared love of cricket. In 1945, the Australian Services cricket team toured India during their return to Australia for demobilisation, and played against the Indian cricket team. However, those matches were not given Test status. The first Test matches between the countries occurred in 1947–48 after the independence of India, when India toured Australia and played five Tests. Australia won 4–0 and as a result, the Australian Board of Control did not invite the Indians back for two decades, fearing that a series of one-sided contests would lead to financial losses due to lack of spectator interest. In the meantime, Australia toured India in late-1956, 1959–60 and 1964–65.
The 1969–70 series in India, which Australia won, were marred by repeated riots. Some were against the Australian team specifically, after the Indian umpires had ruled against the Indian team, while others were not related to on-field conduct, such as a lack of tickets. Several players were hit by projectiles, including captain Bill Lawry, who was hit with a chair. On one occasion, the Australian bus was stoned. The Communist Party of India (CPI), a major political party in West Bengal, protested against Australian batsman Doug Walters, who they mistakenly thought had fought against the communist Vietcong. Around 10,000 communists picketed the Australians' hotel in Calcutta and some eventually broke in and vandalised it. Towards the end of the tour, many former Australian players, some of them administrators, called for the tour to be abandoned for safety reasons, saying that cricket should not descend into violence.
From 1970 until 1996, Australia only toured India twice for Tests. However, with the financial rise of the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Australia, the country with the most successful playing record in the world, has sought more regular fixtures. Test series have occurred every two years for the last decade, and one-day series even more frequently. Scholarships are also given to talented young Indian cricketers to train at the Australian Cricket Academy.
In January 2008, relations became strained after the second test in Sydney. The match, which ended in a last-minute Australian victory, was marred by a series of umpiring controversies, and belligerent conduct between some of the players. At the end of the match, Harbhajan Singh was charged with racially abusing Andrew Symonds, who had been subjected to monkey chants by Indian crowds on a tour a few months earlier. Harbhajan was initially found guilty and given a ban, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India threatened to cancel the tour. Harbhajan's ban was later repealed upon appeal and the tour continued. Both teams were heavily criticised for their conduct.
Nevertheless, Australian cricketers like Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee are immensely popular among the Indian people. Likewise, Sachin Tendulkar is highly regarded among Australian cricket lovers.
India and Australia also have strong ties to field hockey which came to both countries with the British military. In India from the mid-19th century, British army regiments played the game which was subsequently picked up by their India regimental counterparts. The country's first hockey club was formed in Calcutta in 1885–86. Hockey in Australia was introduced by British naval officers in the late 19th century. Evidence of the first organised hockey there was the establishment of the South Australian Hockey Association in 1903.
Teams from both countries have been among the top in the world for many years and have therefore frequently encountered each other on the hockey field. India dominated world hockey between 1928 and 1956, with the men's team winning six consecutive Olympic gold medals. The women's team won world titles in 2002, 2003 and 2004. Australia has found success mainly since the late 1970s, with the men's and women's teams winning gold medals at Olympic Games, World Cup, Champion's Trophy and Commonwealth Games meets.
The first international match between the two countries and the first international match played in Australia was at Richmond Cricket Ground in 1935, when the world champion team from India beat Australia 12 goals to one. The visitors featured hockey supremo Dhyan Chand.
Following the partition of India in 1947, brothers Julian, Eric, Cec, Mel and Gordon Pearce, emigrated to Australia from India. All five went on to become successful international players for their adopted country.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Relations of Australia and India.|
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