New Delhi: Seeking enhanced economic engagement with India, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Wednesday said the two countries have set a goal of doubling bilateral trade to USD 40 billion by 2015.
Addressing Indian business leaders here at a luncheon meeting, Gillard said the dramatic changes in Asia are creating new patterns of Indian growth.
India is changing through important economic reforms in areas like energy, aviation and retail, she said.
"We have already set a goal of USD 40 billion trade in 2015, in other words, our trade could double by 2015," she said. Currently the annual bilateral trade stood at about USD 21 billion.
She said Australia has opened the door for uranium sales to India.
"We both have huge energy needs...India's energy needs are going to increase sharply...There is a good potential for partnership in energy sector," she said.
Gillard said both the countries have agreed for joint research and development in areas like clean energy, water efficiency and sustainable agriculture.
"In recent years, our economic relationship has grown stronger. Two-way trade has grown at 13 percent per annum in the past five years. Indian investment approvals in Australia grew last year alone to over USD 11 billion. This is a one hundred fold increase from ten years ago," she added.
Speaking on the occasion, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma invited investments in infrastructure sector, particularly, in the proposed national investment and manufacturing zones (NMIZs).
"This process (of setting up NMIZS) is on. Come and join us at least in setting up of these zones," he said.
Ficci President R V Kanoria said there is a need to increase air connectivity between the two countries.