India is Australia’s sixth largest trading partner. Total goods and services trade amounted to $30.4 billion in 2018. Australian exports of goods and services contributed the lion’s share, at $22 billion. Goods exports are dominated by coal, natural gas, copper and gold. Imports from India include refined petroleum, railway vehicles and medicines.
Education accounted for the bulk of the $5.5 billion of service exports to India. Australia received more than 108,000 Indian student enrolments in 2018, the second largest intake behind China. Indian student enrolments have increased significantly since the early 2000s. This is due to several factors, including: the lack of adequate schooling opportunities in India; former Indian students sharing a positive experience; a huge latent demand among Indians looking to go to universities abroad; and the Australian government’s streamlining of the student visa process.
India is also an important source of tourists. Almost 358,000 visitors arrived from India in 2018, up 18.1% from a year earlier. Record Indian tourist numbers continued in 2019.
The stock of Australian investment in India is relatively small—$15.5 billion in 2018 or 0.6% of total Australian investment abroad. Australian mining firms such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, and engineering firms such as Snowy Mountain Engineering and Leighton Holdings have large operations in India. By contrast, the US ($719 billion) and UK ($408 billion) remain the leading destinations for Australia’s foreign investment.
The stock of Indian investment in Australia is also small — around $15.4 billion in 2018, or 0.4% of total. Indian investment in Australia comprises of mainly tech-companies, such as, Mahindra Aerospace, Dexler and Servion Global Solutions.