By: Shubham Ghosh
A veteran Indian-origin senior banking executive, Swati Dave, was on Tuesday (7) named the inaugural chair of the Advisory Board to the Centre for Australia-India Relations, a national platform to strengthen the relationship between the two countries.
Australian foreign affairs minister Penny Wong, announcing Dave’s appointment, said that the centre, to be launched this year, will promote a stronger business and cultural understanding between Australia and India.
“Dave brings valuable strategic, leadership and business experience to the role from her extensive senior executive and non-executive director roles across the public and private sectors,” Wong said in a press release.
“I look forward to working with Ms Dave on this important initiative as we seek to deepen our engagement with India, one of our most important regional partners,” she added.
Dave currently serves as deputy chair of Asia Society Australia and as a member of the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations Advisory Board.
She has over 30 years of banking and finance experience across several sectors, including infrastructure, energy and utilities, renewable energy and property, according to Asia Mission, a global non-profit organisation dedicated to Asia.
She was most recently the managing director and CEO of Export Finance Australia and has held senior positions at various banks and investment management companies, including the National Australia Bank, Deutsche Bank, AMP Henderson Global Investors, Bankers Trust and Westpac, the press release said.
The centre, an AUD 24.1 million national platform, will focus on four critical areas of work; promoting policy dialogue, building Australian business literacy and links, engaging Australia’s Indian diaspora communities to support the Melbourne-Delhi relationship, and deepening cultural connections and understanding between the two countries, a statement by Australia’s department of foreign affairs and trade said.
It will also administer over AUD 20 million in Maitri (friendship) initiatives, including a scholars programme, a grants and fellowship programme and a cultural partnership.
In 2020, the Indian-born population became the second-largest group of overseas-born residents in Australia, and three per cent of Australians have Indian heritage, the statement said.