Interactions with Australia’s High Commissioner to India

Sydney/11 October, 2017

Australian High Commissioner to India (New Delhi), Ms Harinder Sidhu, is in Australia presently.  She is here for the mid term consultations with the Government and various stakeholders. As part of these consultations, she met a select group of Indian Australian community representatives  These reps included people from various segments and faiths. 

An hour-long session in the DIBP offices in Parramatta gave an opportunity for all of us to understand and raise relevant issues. 

From Federation of Indian Associations of NSW (FIAN), Abhijeet Martand and I participated. Mr SK Verma participated  on behalf of the Consulate General of India in Sydney. 

We emphasized the role of Indian Australian community as the bridge between India and Australia and their usefulness in enhancing the relations between Australia and India. I pointed out how we (community) took up the matters during students’ troubles in 2009-10 and helped counter “Australia is racist” campaign by Indian media.  I reiterated that then Australian Government did not utilize the community meaningfully in countering the campaign by Indian media. 

Some wanted to be listed with the Govt agencies for people to contact them when needing help, but we expressed our strong view that no such listing etc should be done without involvement of, and vetting by, the Government agencies because some “leaders” are known to exploit our own people. 

The issue involving the visa for priests was raised. It was mentioned that the standard of English requirement is onerous and excessive.  I pointed out that the matter was also raised in the Q & A session with DIBP Assistant Minister, Alex Hawke, in a recent meeting organized by FIAN, and that it will be better if we work together and raise the matter with the Minister directory. The High Commissioner agreed that the matter is in the policy domain and will better be dealt with the Government. We have a plan to organize a meeting involving key stakeholders and then meet the DIBP Assistant Minister. 

Dr Yadu Singh 

Tea and interaction with visiting Indian journalists in Sydney

Sydney, 17 September, 2016

Federation of Indian Associations of NSW and I hosted and conducted a “tea and interaction” between Indian Australian community and visiting Indian journalists, organized by Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) at The Grand Marion, Harris Park on Sat, 17th Sept, 2016.


·Ms Devirupa Mitra (aged 38) is Deputy Editor and Diplomatic Correspondent for ‘The Wire’, an online news site for independent journalism focusing on politics, foreign policy, political economy, science and development.  Ms Mitra’s twitter handle is @devirupam.
· Ms Damini Nath (aged 25) is Principal Correspondent at ‘The Hindu’, one of India’s most respected print newspapers.  Ms Nath’s twitter handle is
· Mr Anirudh Madhavan (aged 25) is Sub Editor at ‘The Week’, the largest circulated English newsmagazine in India.  Mr Madhavan mostly reports on sports, art and lifestyle.  Mr Madhavan’s twitter handle is
This visit was an opportunity to foster closer linkages of Australia with India and showcase Australia to the journalists with an authentic and positive impression of modern Australia, especially the impressions and experiences of Indian Australians.
These journalists had visited Australia as part of Confluence Festival of India in Australia.
The meeting had about 50 key and influential members of Indian Australian community including members of Indian media in Sydney. Many young people attended the meeting. Several Anglo-Indian members were there too.
It was an informal interaction, with plenty of opportunities for journalists to mingle and discuss things with the people.
There was tea/coffee and refreshments provided to those who attended.
This was followed by visits of journalists to a few businesses in Harris Park to gain insight into our community’s experiences.
Dr Yadu Singh
President, Federation of Indian Associations of NSW


Barry O’Farrell is the perfect man for Australia-India Council

Sydney, NSW 10th June, 2015

Barry O'FarrellI am happy to know that Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, has appointed Barry O’Farrell, former Premier of NSW, as the Deputy Chairman of Australia-India Council (AIC) Board, which operates under Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

AIC details:

AIC’s tasks include:

  • 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

AIC Board is currently chaired by Ashok Jacob (Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Ellerston Capita, and Director of Crown Ltd). Other members of AIC include Prof Robyn Batterham (University of Melbourne), Mr Michael Kasprowicz (Former Test Cricketer), Neema Premji (Director of Premji Board Consultancy and Management Services), Payal Mahendroo (Australia India Youth Dialogue) and Sheba Nandkeolyar (AIBC).

Barry retired from NSW Parliament at the March 2015 election for NSW Parliament, after been an MP since 1995 and NSW Premier between 2011-2014. He led annual Trade delegations to India since 2011 and has significant connections in India and Indian community in NSW. He expertise in Australia India matters is second to none.

Let us hope that relations (Political and Trade) between Australia and India pick up speed and reach a new height, with Barry’s joining of AIC Board.

Dr Yadu Singh