Thiruvananthapuram: Australia on Monday welcomed the Kerala government's 'Emerging Kerala' 2012 Global Connect initiative and expressed its desire to partner the state in agri and agro-based services and other sectors.
This was disclosed at a high-level meeting where an Australian diplomatic delegation led by High Commissioner Peter N. Varghese called on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, senior ministers and officials to discuss the possibility of new trade and business partnerships.
Another sector in which the Australian delegation expressed its desire to cooperate with the state is deep-sea fishing projects.
They have offered services, including in training fishermen and promoting of sustainable, environment-friendly practices, to boost the agriculture industry's contribution to the state economy.
Varghese told Chandy that he would make the private industries in his country aware of the 'Emerging Kerala' programme that will be held in Kochi from September 12-14 this year.
Kerala Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty said the response from Australia to the Kerala government's efforts has been very positive.
"Our meeting clearly showed the great synergy of ideas we have. There is so much Kerala can offer that Australia wants, and vice versa," said Kunhalikutty.
Another area where the delegation expressed its wish to collaborate is in improving technical education in schools and ITIs through projects similar to the ones it has already completed in Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Among the mega projects that have attracted Australia's attention are the proposed Oceanarium and LNG terminal at Kochi.
"Australia has some of the world's best aquaria and oceanaria. It is also a country with very large reserves of natural gas. They are naturally interested in sharing their technology and resources for the projects that leverage their strengths," said Alkesh Sharma, who is also managing director of Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC). This is the nodal agency for the mega 'Emerging Kerala' event.