Australia will reopen its consulate in Kolkata after an increase in visitors from eastern India. Australia closed its consulate office in the city at the time of political instability and decline of business in the state but Australia is increasingly proving to be an attraction for both leisure and MICE business. Australia will also extend the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. Since its introduction in 2006, collaboration between Australia and India increased three-fold.
The new mission would be part of the government’s largest diplomatic expansion in over 40 years, said a joint statement issued by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Trade and Tourism and Investment Minister Steven Ciobo. The Australian government will provide Au$10.8 million dollars to set up the Consulate-General in Kolkata, it said.
Australia’s high commissioner to India Harinder Sidhu said, “The consulate general in Kolkata will strengthen bilateral trade and investment, particularly in the mining and resources sectors. We look forward to strengthening our engagement with Bengal and adjoining states. These announcements cement Australia’s commitment to India as a first tier partnership.”
Incentive travel from eastern India to Australia, with Kolkata as the gateway; has increased manifold over the last four years.Issuance of visas will be quicker as the turnaround time for passports to be couriered to New Delhi for any endorsements will be a thing of the past. Australia’s High Commission in India is located in New Delhi while it currently has consulate offices in Mumbai and Chennai.