Australia's visiting Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, on Tuesday launched the Australia-India Institute, to be located at the University of Melbourne, with a view to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations. She announced AUS$8.106 million (INR 32 crore) funding to support the Australia-India Institute. The University of Melbourne and its university partners in Australia, the University of New South Wales and La Trobe University, will invest another AUS $2 million (INR 8 crore) in the Institute, bringing the total investment in the project to more than AUS $10 million (INR 40 crore) over the next three years. The three universities bring to the Institute strong partnerships with leading Indian universities and research centres that will be crucial for the delivery of the Institute's programs.
The Institute will work closely also with the Australia-India Business Council to support mutual trade and investment. It will also support research, graduate training, executive briefings and policy advice for the benefit of both countries. The Institute would operate as a national epicentre of information on India. It will also provide consultancies on issues of national priority, and host international conferences, community engagement and cultural dialogues. Gillard told that several areas of priority research of interest to both countries have been identified. Joint workshops, involving researchers and policy makers, are already scheduled to initiate the Institute's programs for water security under climate change and for cooperation in public health.