Sydney, Feb 7 . Sydney’s Swati Dave will be the inaugural Chair of the new Centre for Australia-India Relations, to be launched this year.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong made the announcement today, welcoming Ms Dave in to a role that she said will “serve as a national platform to further strengthen our relationship with India.”
“I feel deeply honoured to be appointed as the inaugural Chair of the Advisory Board to the new Centre,” Swati Dave said about her appointment.
She added, “We are at a pivotal moment in our engagement and relationship with India and it’s time to pursue the opportunities before us. I’m excited about positioning the Centre to drive a broader and deeper level of co-operation between the two countries.”
Ms Penny Wong said, “Ms Dave brings valuable strategic, leadership and business experience to the role from her extensive senior executive and non-executive director roles across the public and private sectors.”
Swati Dave comes to the position with years of high-ranking corporate experience, much of it in the banking and investments sector – most recently as Managing Director and CEO of Export Finance Australia, and previously in senior positions at NAB, Deutsche Bank, AMP Henderson Global Investors, Bankers Trust and Westpac.
She also serves as Deputy Chair of Asia Society Australia, sits on the Australia-China Relations’ Advisory Board, and is an Investment Committee member for QIC Global Infrastructure.
This invaluable Australian business experience, coupled with her Indian roots that bring an immediate understanding of and connect with India, make her perfectly suited to a role that will forge new pathways in the bilateral relationship.
The creation of this national platform will enable us to build upon the significant work being done across government, business, and communities to lift Australia-India business literacy and links, promote greater policy and business dialogue, engage our valuable Indian diaspora, and deepen cultural understanding,” Ms Dave said.
The Centre was announced last year as part of the India Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (Ind-Aus ECTA), which is expected to increase bilateral trade from the current $27 billion to $45-50 billion in five years.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) describe the Centre – allocated a budget of $21.4 million – as a national platform bringing together all levels of government, industry and the broader community, to drive Australia-India engagement. It will complement existing institutions and function as the centre of gravity for the bilateral relationship, according to DFAT.
It is expected that the Centre and its Chair will have access to the highest levels of government on both sides, as the two nations strive to take their relationship closer economically, politically, and socially.