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India@75: A Look back at India’s shared and deepening cooperation with Australia

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India@75: A Look back at India’s shared and deepening cooperation with Australia

As India celebrates its 75 years of independence, many world leaders, including the prime minister of Australia, conveyed congratulations to Indians living in Australia and other countries. 

Many academics and think tanks believe that India represents the best possibility for the Western democracies looking to counter China as a strategic partner and market.  Whatever the reality on the ground, the possibility of a secular democracy with a sizable population, aspirational English speakers, and a thriving economy has long been a glimmer. Australia has contributed significantly to the alliance’s expansion.

India and Australia have a solid and purposeful bilateral relationship. The scope of Australia’s relationship with India has grown in tandem with India’s rapid economic and strategic growth, supported by trade and investment. 

According to government data, India was Australia’s seventh-largest trading partner in 2020, with two-way trade valued at $24.3 billion and the sixth-largest goods and services export market, valued at $16.9 billion. 

Interestingly, Education is Australia’s largest service export to India, valued at $6 billion and accounting for around 88 per cent of the total in 2020. At the end of 2020, Indian students in Australia numbered 115,137.

A modernising economy

The post-independence economy of India (1947–1991) was notable for its planned development, heavy regulation, and protectionism. India started a phase of economic liberalisation in 1991 that aided in its transition to a market-based economy. 

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The Indian economy grew at an average yearly rate of over 7 per cent for a decade starting in the late 1990s. India’s GDP increased seven times since 2000 to reach USD3 trillion. Since the 1990s, tens of millions of Indians have been lifted out of poverty. The nation’s economic progress is still uneven, though.

Notably, India’s independence marked a turning point in its economic history. The Indian economy, which is currently the sixth-largest by market exchange rates, was valued at $3.04 trillion in 2021, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). India’s economy is also among the fastest-growing in the world, with average annual GDP growth of 5.8 per cent during the past 20 years.

A decade in the making

The inaugural Australia-India Virtual Leaders’ Summit took place on June 4, 2020, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, attending. The 2009 bilateral Strategic Partnership between the two Prime Ministers was upgraded to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership at this meeting (CSP). 

The Australia-India Chamber of Commerce (AICC) held several activities across Australia in February 2022 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, Australia Day, and Indian Republic Day.

Then, in April, India and Australia agreed to a transitional free trade deal, which will increase bilateral commerce to $50 billion in five years while lowering restrictions on the movement of people and tariffs on various Australian goods. The Economic Co-operation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was signed by Scott Morrison, the prime minister of Australia, and Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India. 

More than 6,000 Indian industries will be given duty-free access, including those producing textiles, leather, furniture, jewellery, and machinery. The Australian government is working to diversify export markets and lessen Australia’s reliance on China, its top trading partner. Both have participated in several diplomatic confrontations that have led to Beijing banning particular Australian goods.

The deal with India lowers taxes on more than 85 per cent of Australian commodities sent to India, worth $12.6 billion. Over 10 years, that percentage will increase to over 91 per cent, worth $13.4 billion. The deal would offer huge prospects for trade diversification for Australian producers and service providers exporting to India, according to Prime Minister Scott Morrison. 

The Australian Government has also started the Australia India Commercial Exchange (AIBX) programme to encourage more business collaborations between Australia and India. From industry-specific insights to advice on conducting business with India and breaking into India’s online retail market, AIBX offers various services to assist Australian businesses in entering and establishing in India.

Further information can be found on the Austrade website.

India-Australia ECTA

In a recent interview, India’s Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said that the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) between India and Australia would create roughly 10 lakh employment over the following four to five years. 

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The recently concluded trade agreement with Australia is anticipated to increase bilateral trade from USD 27 billion to USD 45-50 billion over the next five years. The government of India anticipates creating one million jobs in that time. The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was signed on April 2 by both nations.

ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade and provides an institutional mechanism to improve trade between the two countries.

Meet the new generation of India’s diaspora

The Australian Indian diaspora should be utilised and utilised as a national economic asset. The Indian government makes a significant effort to engage this diaspora. This also applies to the Australian Government. 

The future productivity and resiliency of the Australian business sector will be improved by leveraging the entrepreneurial spirit of this rapidly expanding group, notably its willingness to experiment and take risks, as well as its familiarity with the Indian market. Between 2006 and 2016, there was a sharp rise in migration from India to Australia, more than doubling the population of Indian descent.

The professional Indian diaspora in Australia has not yet attained the same level of influence in higher echelons of state and federal politics, academia, and business as the diasporas in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Singapore. Their presence in important economic sectors and the creation of vibrant business groups have especially contributed to the development of trust and understanding needed to increase trade and investment with India. 

They establish links with state governments and industry organisations and offer insights into India’s corporate practices, cultural landscape, and linguistic variety. They advocate for more regular visits, delegations, and conferences between government and business, and they press their governments for stronger commercial and political ties with India. Additionally, their varied perspectives support the adoption of new procedures and technology.

Investing in India-Australia Collaboration

The Indian diaspora in Australia exhibits the same spirit of entrepreneurship that is seen everywhere. Businesses owned by Australians born in India increased by 72 per cent between 2006 and 2011, compared to a 40 per cent increase for those born in China. Additionally, the transport, postal, and warehousing sector saw the greatest increase in Indian diaspora entrepreneurship between 2006 and 2016.

Like Chinese students, Indian students make up 15 per cent of the second-largest international cohort at Australian universities (34 per cent). Since 2014, there has been a sharp increase in the number of Indian international students enrolling in postgraduate programmes in Australian universities. 

But among Indian students, master’s by coursework is by far the most popular option (70 per cent), followed by bachelor’s degrees (22per cent), and it has been expanding quickly since 2014. In Australia, only 2per cent of Indian students seek PhD degrees.

India was one of the top three nations from which Australian academics were recruited between 1993 and 2013 (the other two being the United Kingdom and China). International students made up 30 per cent of all postgraduate researchers in 2014; this percentage was higher in the STEM fields of engineering (54.2 per cent), information technology (51.5 per cent), agriculture and environment (45.6 per cent), and natural and physical sciences (45.7 per cent). (36 per cent).

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The India-Australia ECTA agreement has unquestionably offered a kind of road map for a successful engagement with India in the current international environment, and its relevance must be evaluated in that context.

More of these conversations may take place, and it remains to be seen how effectively the two countries’ relations will develop in light of their shared potential and principles.

More here.

More on India’s diaspora.

Keep up to date with our stories on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Amazon won’t have to pay hundreds of millions in back taxes after winning EU case

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Amazon won’t have to pay hundreds of millions in back taxes after winning EU case

LONDON (AP) — Amazon won’t have to pay about 250 million euros ($273 million) in back taxes after European Union judges ruled in favor of the U.S. e-commerce giant Thursday, dealing a defeat to the 27-nation bloc in its efforts to tackle corporate tax avoidance.

The ruling by the EU’s top court is final, ending the long-running legal battle over tax arrangements between Amazon and Luxembourg’s government and marking a further setback for a crackdown by antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager.

The Court of Justice backed a 2021 decision by judges in a lower court who sided with Amazon, saying the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, had not proved its case that Amazon received illegal state support.

“The Court of Justice confirms that the Commission has not established that the tax ruling given to Amazon by Luxembourg was a State aid that was incompatible with the internal market” of the EU, the court said in a press release.

Amazon welcomed the ruling, saying it confirms that the company “followed all applicable laws and received no special treatment.”

“We look forward to continuing to focus on delivering for our customers across Europe,” the company said in a statement.

The commission said it “will carefully study the judgment and assess its implications.”

The case dates back to 2017, when Vestager charged Amazon with unfairly profiting from special low tax conditions since 2003 in tiny Luxembourg, where its European headquarters are based. As a result, almost three-quarters of Amazon’s profits in the EU were not taxed, she said.

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The EU has taken aim at deals between individual countries and companies used to lure foreign multinationals in search of a place to establish their EU headquarters. The practice led to EU states competing with each other and multinationals playing them off one another.

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Tesla autopilot recalls: 2 million vehicles need to have their defective systems fixed

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Tesla autopilot recalls: 2 million vehicles need to have their defective systems fixed

DETROIT (AP) — Tesla is recalling nearly all vehicles sold in the U.S., more than 2 million, to update software and fix a defective system that’s supposed to ensure drivers are paying attention when using Autopilot.

Documents posted Wednesday by U.S. safety regulators say the update will increase warnings and alerts to drivers and even limit the areas where basic versions of Autopilot can operate.

The recall comes after a two-year investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration into a series of crashes that happened while the Autopilot partially automated driving system was in use. Some were deadly.

The agency says its investigation found Autopilot’s method of making sure that drivers are paying attention can be inadequate and can lead to “foreseeable misuse of the system.”

The added controls and alerts will “further encourage the driver to adhere to their continuous driving responsibility,” the documents said.

But safety experts said that, while the recall is a good step, it still makes the driver responsible and doesn’t fix the underlying problem that Tesla’s automated systems have with spotting and stopping for obstacles in their path.

The recall covers models Y, S, 3 and X produced between Oct. 5, 2012, and Dec. 7 of this year. The update was to be sent to certain affected vehicles on Tuesday, with the rest getting it later.

Shares of Tesla slid more than 3% in earlier trading Wednesday but recovered amid a broad stock market rally to end the day up 1%.

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The attempt to address the flaws in Autopilot seemed like a case of too little, too late to Dillon Angulo, who was seriously injured in 2019 crash involving a Tesla that was using the technology along a rural stretch of Florida highway where the software isn’t supposed to be deployed.

“This technology is not safe, we have to get it off the road,” said Angulo, who is suing Tesla as he recovers from injuries that included brain trauma and broken bones. “The government has to do something about it. We can’t be experimenting like this.”

Autopilot includes features called Autosteer and Traffic Aware Cruise Control, with Autosteer intended for use on limited access freeways when it’s not operating with a more sophisticated feature called Autosteer on City Streets.

The software update will limit where Autosteer can be used. “If the driver attempts to engage Autosteer when conditions are not met for engagement, the feature will alert the driver it is unavailable through visual and audible alerts, and Autosteer will not engage,” the recall documents said.

Depending on a Tesla’s hardware, the added controls include “increasing prominence” of visual alerts, simplifying how Autosteer is turned on and off, and additional checks on whether Autosteer is being used outside of controlled access roads and when approaching traffic control devices. A driver could be suspended from using Autosteer if they repeatedly fail “to demonstrate continuous and sustained driving responsibility,” the documents say.

According to recall documents, agency investigators met with Tesla starting in October to explain “tentative conclusions” about the fixing the monitoring system. Tesla did not concur with NHTSA’s analysis but agreed to the recall on Dec. 5 in an effort to resolve the investigation.

Auto safety advocates for years have been calling for stronger regulation of the driver monitoring system, which mainly detects whether a driver’s hands are on the steering wheel. They have called for cameras to make sure a driver is paying attention, which are used by other automakers with similar systems.

Philip Koopman, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University who studies autonomous vehicle safety, called the software update a compromise that doesn’t address a lack of night vision cameras to watch drivers’ eyes, as well as Teslas failing to spot and stop for obstacles.

“The compromise is disappointing because it does not fix the problem that the older cars do not have adequate hardware for driver monitoring,” Koopman said.

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Koopman and Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, contend that crashing into emergency vehicles is a safety defect that isn’t addressed. “It’s not digging at the root of what the investigation is looking at,” Brooks said. “It’s not answering the question of why are Teslas on Autopilot not detecting and responding to emergency activity?”

Koopman said NHTSA apparently decided that the software change was the most it could get from the company, “and the benefits of doing this now outweigh the costs of spending another year wrangling with Tesla.”

In its statement Wednesday, NHTSA said the investigation remains open “as we monitor the efficacy of Tesla’s remedies and continue to work with the automaker to ensure the highest level of safety.”

Autopilot can steer, accelerate and brake automatically in its lane, but is a driver-assist system and cannot drive itself, despite its name. Independent tests have found that the monitoring system is easy to fool, so much that drivers have been caught while driving drunk or even sitting in the back seat.

In its defect report filed with the safety agency, Tesla said Autopilot’s controls “may not be sufficient to prevent driver misuse.”

A message was left early Wednesday seeking further comment from the Austin, Texas, company.

Tesla says on its website that Autopilot and a more sophisticated Full Self Driving system are meant to help drivers who have to be ready to intervene at all times. Full Self Driving is being tested by Tesla owners on public roads.

In a statement posted Monday on X, formerly Twitter, Tesla said safety is stronger when Autopilot is engaged.

NHTSA has dispatched investigators to 35 Tesla crashes since 2016 in which the agency suspects the vehicles were running on an automated system. At least 17 people have been killed.

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The investigations are part of a larger probe by the NHTSA into multiple instances of Teslas using Autopilot crashing into emergency vehicles. NHTSA has become more aggressive in pursuing safety problems with Teslas, including a recall of Full Self Driving software.

In May, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose department includes NHTSA, said Tesla shouldn’t be calling the system Autopilot because it can’t drive itself.

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AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this story.

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Why Was Sam Altman Fired? Possible Ties to China D2 (Double Dragon) Data from Hackers

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Theories are going around the internet why Sam Altman was fired. On an insider tech forum (Blind) – one person claims to know by third-hand account and how this news will trickle into the media over the next couple of weeks.

It’s said OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models, which includes GPT-4. This data was obtained through a hidden business contract with a D2 shell company called Whitefly, which was based in Singapore. This D2 group has the largest and biggest crawling/indexing/scanning capacity in the world 10x more than Alphabet Inc (Google), hence the deal so Open AI could get their hands on vast quantities of data for training after exhausting their other options.

The Chinese government became aware of this arrangement and raised concerns with the Biden administration. As a result, the NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed that OpenAI had been using data from D2. Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, which is a major investor in OpenAI, was informed of the findings and ordered Altman’s removal.

There was also suggestion that Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board. This lack of candor ultimately led to his dismissal and is what the board publicly alluded to when they said “not consistently candid in his communications with the board.”

To summarize what happened with Sam Altman’s firing:

1. Sam Altman was removed from OpenAI due to his ties to a Chinese cyber army group.

2.OpenAI had been using data from D2 to train its AI models.

3. The Chinese government raised concerns about this arrangement with the Biden administration.

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4. The NSA launched an investigation, which confirmed OpenAI’s use of D2 data.

5. Satya Nadella ordered Altman’s removal after being informed of the findings.

6. Altman refused to disclose this information to the OpenAI board.

 

We’ll see in the next couple of weeks if this story holds up or not.

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