Thursday, March 30

Australia Kolkata consulate to reopen after 30 years

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Australia has decided to reopen a consulate office in Kolkata, more than three decades after it exited the city in the mid-1980s when militant trade unionism had led to flight of capital and closure of several corporate offices and airlines. The return of the diplomatic mission was as much a reflection of the change in Bengal’s business climate as the rise in tourists and students travelling Down Under.The consulate general’s office in Kolkata will take the number of Australian diplomatic posts in India to four. Apart from the Australian high commissioner’s office in New Delhi, there are offices of consulate generals in Mumbai and Chennai. Sidhu had visited Kolkata two years ago. During the trip, she had remarked: “It’s a great city to be in. Kolkata has, of course, the reputation of being India’s intellectual and cultural capital and I’ve greatly enjoyed some stimulating discussions in the time I’ve been here.” As a trading port, Kolkata’s relationship with Australia goes back to the early days of European settlement there. In 1798, Scottish-born Robert Campbell, who had a trading business in Kolkata, arrived in Sydney with cargo from Kolkata. This was the start of a successful enterprise involving the export of goods from India to Australia. Around 15 Australian mining companies have offices in Kolkata, the leading among them being Orica, which makes explosives for mines. A couple of Kolkata-based companies, like Tega Industries and Global Reach, are present in Australia.

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