The Australia-India Council (AIC) is a non-statutory body sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). AIC board members are appointed by the Australian Government to strengthen the connections between Australia and India, and provide advice to government on the opportunities and vulnerabilities in the relationship. The board makes recommendations to DFAT on projects that will implement innovative solutions for breaking down perceived barriers to engagement and establish new sustainable collaborations.
Project funds are available through a highly competitive grants process to qualified Australian organisations (educational, business groups, cultural and research institutions, and non-government bodies).
The AIC's mission is to advance Australia's foreign and trade policy interests by building awareness and understanding between the peoples and institutions of Australia and India (Order Constituting the Australia-India Council, 6 May 2010).
AIC objectives are to:
- raise awareness of Australia in India, and of India in Australia, in a way that encourages further growth in relations between the two countries, including in the trade and investment relationship
- promote exchange and collaboration between Australian and Indian organisations in fields of relevance to the bilateral strategic partnership
- deliver high quality programs that demonstrate Australia's economic credentials and technical excellence to influential audiences in India
- seek community involvement in, and private sector support for, the Council's diplomacy efforts including by encouraging corporate investment in collaborations that advance Australia India relations
- publicise the Council's activities as a means of encouraging broad support for the Council's role and the bilateral relationship.
To achieve these objectives, the AIC builds connections and supports projects that establish new, innovative and dynamic linkages; overcome an existing identified problem; or leverage a major event to build deeper connections between Australia and India. Preference is given to activities that maximise impact by fostering ground-breaking and catalytic collaborations. The central criteria for success is how well applicants demonstrate distinctly new and different innovative projects that build sustainable collaborations and improve perceptions of Australia in India and/or of India in Australia.
From 2017 to 2020, priority areas include:
- Developing new innovative mechanisms for lifting education outcomes between Australia and India, such as through the New Colombo Plan or mobile platforms for the delivery of training and skill programs.
- Developing new innovative social entrepreneur schemes that build on either India's unique identifier or outcomes from successful projects, such as, the Australia India Strategic Research Projects on bio, agri or water technology and urban infrastructure.
- Recognising and capitalising on Australian and Indian shared cultural identity, for example, through common parliamentary and legal systems; social entrepreneur platforms that support women in leadership, children or tech-savvy young people; or Indigenous culture.
- Building connections between Australia and India by drawing on major events as inspiration for collaborations and joint projects that establish linkages between India and Australia in a school, business or community setting.
The AIC is committed to:
- encouraging increased industry investments in science and education initiatives and corporate philanthropy for cultural diplomacy events
- better harnessing the leadership of the Indian community in Australia and alumni groups in strengthening people-to-people and business links
- giving greater emphasis to business leader exchanges through speakers programs
- supporting two-way visits of Australia's and India's most senior and influential journalists
- supporting bilateral policy dialogues hosted by the most highly regarded think tanks in Australia and India
- reducing the number, and increasing the size and impact, of grants and requiring successful grant applicants to provide policy advice to inform government about key considerations relating to their topic
- strengthening our on-line and social media presence.
We measure performance through the key performance indicators included in all successful AIC grant applications.
The outcomes of our programs and events will be published regularly on the AIC's website, through social media and will be included in DFAT's Annual Reports.