India to tap Australia’s $150 bn Future Fund for infra development, link digital payment platforms

New Delhi, March 21 : At the India-Australia virtual summit today, India has sought increased cooperation between its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and Australia’s $150 billion worth Australian Future Fund for attracting investments in the area of infrastructure development in the country. Briefing media on the virtual summit talks between PM Modi and Australian PM Scott Morrison today, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India has sought increasing cooperation between the NIIF of India and Australia’s pension and sovereign fund, called Australian Future Fund. He said India’s interest is in attracting Australian investments in infrastructure development through the fund. “India will offer the same tax benefits as given in Australia. We are willing to match the tax benefits that Australia gives to its pension fund once they invest in India,” he said. The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) is India’s first infrastructure specific investment fund or a sovereign wealth fund that was set up by the Government of India in February 2015. Another agreement between the two sides is for early integration of the digital payments platforms of both countries – the fied Payments Interface or UPI in India and Australia’s New Payments Platform. This will help the seven lakh Indian comm ty in Australia, and also promote the emergence of India as a popular tourist and education destination for Australians, he said. Both sides also welcomed the MoU in cooperation in the critical mining sector. India’s Khanij Bidesh Ltd and Australia’s Critical Minerals Facilitation Office have inked an MoU for building partnerships in critical mining investment. “This will give an opport ty to us to invest and get Australian expertise,” the FS added. One significant outcome of the summit was the decision to hold annual summit meetings at the level of heads of government, making Australia the third country with which India has such a mechanism, after Japan and the US. Both sides also inked a Letter of Intent in the area of Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement. This would be useful in the field of education and technology, especially involving younger people. India’s public broadcaster Prasar Bharati and the Special Broadcasting Service of Australia also inked an MoU that will allow for expertise, and also allow for daily slots for DD News and DD Sahyadri in Australia, he said. RN

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