New SA India post as space company expands mission

Amid celebrations over Australia’s World Cup Cricket win over India last night, a trade delegation from South Australia has landed in Bengaluru where Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion announced the state would appoint a new country director to capitalise on free trade opportunities.

Nov 20, 2023, updated Jan 31, 2024
Photo: Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion. Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily. Design: James Taylor/InDaily.

Photo: Trade and Investment Minister Nick Champion. Photo: Liam Jenkins/InDaily. Design: James Taylor/InDaily.

Champion said the new India Director would be based in Mumbai to build connections for South Australian business across the country.

He said India is currently the state’s fifth largest merchandise export market with SA exporting almost $1.1 billion of goods in the 12 months to September this year.

This was an increase of 10.5 per cent on the previous year.

Champion said the figures came in the wake of the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement which entered into force on December 29 last year.

The agreement eliminated tariffs on more than 85 per cent of Australian goods by value exported to India and that number will rise to 90 per cent by January 1, 2026.

Reporting to the Trade and Investment Commissioner, Mumbai, the new country director will also support and drive the development and implementation of ministerial and business mission programs to India.

Champion is the first South Australian Minister to visit India since 2017 and is travelling in a delegation with opposition trade and investment spokesman Tim Whetstone, a spokesperson saying they arrived just after the World Cup Cricket match win in India last night.

The delegation is today in Bengaluru – dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of India’ – and will also travel to the country’s commercial capital Mumbai.

“India and Australia share an ocean border, and our long-valued friendship has been the foundation for the cooperative negotiations leading to Australia having world-leading access to the Indian market – that’s an opportunity we want to capitalise upon,” Champion said.

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“We’ve got a deliberate strategy to establish a permanent footprint in Mumbai – India’s commercial capital – to establish South Australia as a state synonymous with high-tech, leading-edge industry as well as home of Australia’s premium produce.

“The opportunities for South Australia to seize on our competitive advantage in a market with over 1.4 billion people are immense. The synergies between our state’s growth sectors and India’s interests mean our state is well placed to benefit.”

Today in Bengaluru, Champion announced with the founders of Australian orbital servicing organisation Space Machines Company that it would expand its Adelaide-based mission command centre, amid growing interest in collaboration between South Australia and India.

Founders Rajat Kulshrestha and George Freney said plans to grow their Adelaide footprint would create up to 10 new jobs for mission control engineers and support staff, who would play a role in command and control of Australia’s biggest satellite, Optimus.

“We are committed to further expanding our footprint in South Australia, with eager anticipation of the enhanced avenues for collaboration this creates, not only within our local team but also with out colleagues in India”, Kulshrestha said.

The prospect of a greater partnership between South Australia’s space industry and the Indian Space Research Organization (Isro) follows recent announcements that India will send an astronaut to the Moon by 2040 and send a space station into orbit by 2035.

Isro also recently launched rockets to study the moon and test flights of the Gahanyaan spacecraft, a precursor for astronaut flight by 2025 – and became the first country to land a spacecraft on the Moon’s South Pole.

Space Machines Company’s state-of-the-art mission control centre is based at Lot Fourteen and is part of a government-led “critical technologies roundtable” in Bengaluru.

The roundtable’s aim was to promote trade, research and development collaboration and investment from India’s top technology firms into South Australia, crucial in building strong connections to advance the state’s economic ties with India.

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