Australia appoints Barry O’Farrell as the new high commissioner to India

Australia has appointed former New South Wales premier Barry O’Farrell as the next high commissioner to India, one of Canberra’s closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific, an official statement said on Tuesday.

O’Farrell, 60, will succeed Harinder Sidhu who has been in the office since 2016.

“Barry O’Farrell is Australia’s next High Commissioner to the Republic of India – one of our closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific. Thanks to outgoing HC Harinder Sidhu,” Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne tweeted on Tuesday.

The minister said that apart from his new role, O’Farrell will also have non-resident accreditation to Bhutan.

“Australia and Bhutan enjoy a warm relationship, built on strong people-to-people links and cooperation on international education” she said.

O’Farrell served in the NSW Parliament from 1995-2015, including as the state’s 43rd premier.

Payne, in the statement, said that as the premier of North South Wales (NSW) during 2011-2014, O’Farrell initiated and led annual trade missions to India to promote economic, cultural and social links between NSW and the Indian states.

“He has served as NSW’s special envoy for India and made a significant contribution as the deputy chair of the Australia India Council Board,” she said.

Describing India as one of Australia’s closest and most significant partners in the Indo-Pacific, she said that the two countries share “commitment to strengthening the institutions and norms that we rely on for regional openness, stability, security and prosperity.” ”India is a significant trading partner, with two-way investment valued at 30.7 billion Australian dollars. The Government will continue to push an ambitious agenda to expand our trade and economic relationship, as outlined in the India Economic Strategy (IES),” she said.

Australia has strong strategic and defence ties with India, and the scale and complexity of joint activities between the two countries continue to expand, she said, adding around 700,000 people of Indian origin were living in Australia who were driving substantial education, cultural and tourism links. 

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