Youth dialogue between India and Australia | Asia Pacific

Youth dialogue between India and Australia

Youth dialogue between India and Australia

Updated 6 February 2012, 16:31 AEDT

The developing but not always harmonious relationship between India and Australia is being given a boost this week with the first meeting of what's being called the Australia-India Youth Dialogue.

Young people from both countries are meeting in New Delhi and Mumbai for a series of events designed to boost mutual understanding and people-to-people ties.

Reporter: Murali Krishnan

Speakers: Nathan Bracken, Australian cricketer; Yaara Bau Melhem, broadcast journalist; Peter Verghese, Australian High Commissioner; Pinky Chandran, educationist and trainer; Ben Doherty, journalist; Srijan Pal Singh, farmer

SFX: Cricket commentary

KRISHNAN: For millions of cricket fans, especially in India, Nathan Bracken, the tall, left-arm fast medium bowler was best known for swinging the ball both ways. But after he announced his retirement from the game last year due to a chronic knee injury, the lanky cricketer from New South Wales set up of a sports and entertainment agency.

Now, Bracken has been chosen as one of the participants from his country who is helping take the Australia India relationship to further heights.

A platform for young leaders to come together - the Australia India Youth Dialogue -(AIYD) has brought 15 Australians and an equal number of Indians together to hold a dialogue about various issues of significance to bilateral ties. All are under the age of 35.

BRACKEN: It was funny actually coming back to India without a team. It is really good especially for me…. looking at issues that I have not dealt with a lot. We are getting the Indian point of view, both points of view and where we have a discussion. We are hearing people from both sides of the story obviously and it allows us to sit back and make an educated decision with the correct information.

SFX: Experts addressing the crowd.

KRISHNAN: The mix from both sides includes journalists, entrepreneurs, academics and educationists. And they hope to leverage on their experience and learn more from each other.

Srijan Pal Singh, who has been involved in a variety of social and developmental activities at the grassroots level is looking forward to the enterprise.

SINGH: My expectations from this entire initiative would be that it brings the youth of the 2 nations together. As the youth would be the future of both countries… if the countries come together so would the youth… And if some concrete things emerge in research areas, or enterprise or social development domain that we can cooperate, I think it will be a great outcome.

SFX: Speakers addressing the audience

KRISHNAN: Some attending the program know of Australia's ageing population, with the proportion of people aged over 65 years, rising.

India's potential as an economic and a socially responsible power, on the other hand, rests on its youth. Over 70 per cent of the country's 1.2 billion plus population is below the age of 40.

Pinky Chandran who has worn many caps as an educationist and training local communities sees an opportunity here.

CHANDRAN: I believe that India can supplement Australia's skill shortage. Considering that accounting and mining is one of the two areas they are facing a skill shortage. I think India can do wonders in supplementing that shortage.

KRISHNAN: Some felt that the relationship between both sides has lacked the flesh-and-blood connections that made interaction broad-based and enduring.

Ben Doherty is an Australian journalist.

DOHERTY: This is a developing relationship between 2 countries that have perhaps haven't seen eye to eye over the course of their histories. It is a developing relationship in the economic sense but also in a political and a geo-strategic sense. So it is a good idea every now and then just to sit back and reflect on the relationship and talk of the relationship and see ideas from other points of view.

KRISHNAN: Others like Yaara Bou Melhem, a broadcaster, feels there will be positives from the dialogue.

MELHEM: We need to be able to hear from different people, from both sides and from people who are making decisions about the nuclear issues, security of the region, Indian students in Australia….they are all quite relevant and topical…and I think a lot of people will be taking away positive things from this.

KRISHNAN: Australia's high commissioner to India, Peter Varghese believes there is no magic bullet to improve ties but dialogue was essential

VARGHESE: In terms of takeaways, this is a process, I don't think anyone should expect that a meeting is going to revolutionize the relationship… but what this does do is to create some new networks between both countries and over time, the more of those you have… I think the more stable and productive your relationship is going to be.

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