Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong has officially announced the selection of Philip Green as the next High Commissioner of Australia to India. In a media release, Minister Wong stated that Mr. Green, a seasoned career officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, will take over the position from the current High Commissioner, Barry O’Farrell.
Green’s previous role was as Australia’s Ambassador to Germany. It is worth noting that the High Commissioner to India also serves as an accredited representative to the Kingdom of Bhutan.
Highlighting the strong ties between Australia and India, Minister Wong emphasised that the relationship between the two countries has never been closer. They share common perspectives, face similar challenges, and possess a shared democratic heritage.
Wong also mentioned that Australia and India are actively collaborating through the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and as partners in the Quad framework. Their joint efforts aim to foster a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, with the utmost respect for national sovereignty.
In addition, Minister Wong highlighted the growing defence and security cooperation between Australia and India. She emphasised the mutually beneficial economic partnership between the two nations, which is set to expand further with the aim of finalising a comprehensive and ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.
Minister Wong also expressed her gratitude to Barry O’Farrell, the outgoing Australian High Commissioner to India, for his significant contributions to advancing Australia’s interests in India during his tenure since 2020.
According to the press release, Philip Green’s extensive diplomatic career includes serving as the Australian Ambassador to Germany. As a senior career officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, he has held prominent positions such as the Australian High Commissioner to Singapore, South Africa, and Kenya.
In addition to Green’s appointment, Minister Wong also announced the appointment of Hilary McGeachy as Australia’s first Consul-General in Bengaluru. This consulate will be Australia’s fifth diplomatic mission in India and will assume consular responsibilities for the states of Karnataka and Telangana.
Minister Wong expressed her enthusiasm for the new consulate in Bengaluru, highlighting its status as a prominent hub of innovation and India’s technology industry. She emphasised that the establishment of the consulate will strengthen Australia’s trade, investment, and people-to-people ties while fostering a robust technology partnership in this dynamic region of South India.
Similar to Green, Hilary McGeachy is a career officer with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She brings her prior experience of serving in India and Germany to her new role as Consul-General in Bengaluru.
Meanwhile, Sarah Storey, the Australian Deputy High Commissioner to India, recently expressed pride in India’s decision to engage in a free trade agreement with Australia. Storey stated that as a result of this agreement, 96 per cent of Indian goods now enter Australia without tariffs, while 86 per cent of Australian goods enter India without tariffs.
She believes that this agreement will support India’s “Make in India” program by promoting the competitiveness of Indian goods. Storey emphasised the strong belief in the relationship between the two countries and the vast potential for further collaboration.
Furthermore, Storey highlighted that the bond between Australia and India has been elevated to a strategic and comprehensive partnership, reflecting the deepening and multifaceted nature of their relationship.
In recent developments, India and Australia have made the decision to broaden their negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) by incorporating 15 additional sectors. These sectors, including Agri-Tech, critical minerals, space, and sports, have never been included in any trade agreement that India previously been involved in.
The ongoing third round of negotiations for the comprehensive trade agreement between India and Australia is currently underway and is set to conclude on June 16. Following this, the next round of talks is scheduled to take place in July. Rajesh Agrawal, the Additional Secretary in the Department of Commerce, provided this information regarding the negotiations.