There's no shortage of impassioned debate about Australia and India's relationship on the cricket pitch, especially when it comes to sledging. But, the same energy is needed off the sporting field to keep pace with India's rising economic and global influence.
The University of New South Wales' Brainfood Forum this week considered what it will take for Australia to engage positively and profitably with a rapidly changing India, projected to become the world's third largest economy by 2050.
"We have a lot of work to do - on both sides," said Brainfood's key note speaker, Dr Neville Roach AO, Chairman Emeritus of the Australia-India Business Council.
Dr Roach argued cricket is a good place to start to "stop the rot".
"Cricket is such an obsession for one billion Indians, so what happens on the cricket pitch affects all aspects of the relationship," he said of negative sentiments fanned by Australian sledging.
India's global power in cricket was demonstrated earlier this year with the launch of the multi-billion dollar Indian Premier League, which paid
handsomely for the participation of high profile Aussie cricketers. India now controls about 70 percent of the revenue of the global game.
"India's time has finally arrived," Dr Roach said of India's rapid economic growth and its global importance as a source of educated, English speaking migrants to bolster economies - such as Australia's - impacted by ageing workforces.
India's attention, too, should go beyond importing Aussie cricket stars to securing access to Australian resources, education and training to underwrite India's economic expansion.
Christopher Kremmer, author and journalist, said a growing India presented many complex challenges, as mass poverty persists despite the rapidly modernizing economy. As the world's biggest democracy, India's constant political machinations means it's also often dubbed "the world's biggest argument."
These growing pains of a developing country presented two choices, he said.
"We can stand to the side, or plunge in and accept India as it is. If we don't we will be the losers."
Watch the Brainfood Forum video at UNSW on YouTube.
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