New India Directors take up innings for South Australia

27 May 2024
The world’s fifth-largest economy will be a key market of focus for the South Australian Government as it appoints two designated India-based country directors. 

The role of the new appointments is to establish business connections that will take advantage of the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI-ECTA). 

Mr Kamran Khan has been appointed as Senior Director, India, by the Department for Trade and Investment to lead the state’s growth of South Australian exports into India, and to facilitate and secure foreign direct investment from India into the state. 

Mr Khan will be based in Chennai and has been working at the Australian Trade and Investment Commission in India since 2010.  

Most recently, Mr Khan held the position of Senior Director and Regional Lead, Infrastructure for South Asia, supporting Australian businesses to succeed in trade and investment across the region.  

“South Australia is well positioned to complement India’s continued growth, including through the current exports of lentils, wheat and coal, and by diversifying into the new and emerging sectors of energy, space and technology,” said Mr Khan, Senior Director, India. 

“I see strong potential for South Australia and India to work together in the defence, aerospace and advanced manufacturing, resources and energy, food, wine and agribusiness and water and environment management.  

“The future looks bright, and I am ambitious for South Australian businesses to do more with India. We are presently in a very exciting time in the India-Australia relations, underpinned by a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between our two countries.” 

Supporting Mr Khan’s efforts to guide South Australian businesses in India, Ms Priya Pankaj has been appointed as Director; India, and will be based in Mumbai.  

Ms Pankaj has previously held positions with private multinational corporations such as Citi Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and HDFC Bank, and most recently, was Senior Investment Adviser and Lead – Environment, Energy and Infrastructure at the British High Commission. 

“I am excited about the opportunity to promote trade and investment opportunities and facilitate collaborations across sectors including technology, food and wine, renewable energy, space and defence and health,” said Ms Pankaj, Director, India.  

“I am eager to work towards enhancing the visibility of South Australia in India and vice versa, thereby creating mutually beneficial partnerships that drive economic growth and innovation. 

“I look forward to engaging with key stakeholders, building strategic alliances and contributing to the overall advancement of both regions.” 

Mr Khan and Ms Pankaj will collaborate in key sectors of growth for South Australia and with companies that have an ongoing relationship with India and South Australia. 

Both positions are embedded in Austrade offices in Chennai and Mumbai as part of a collaborative effort taking advantage of networks and deep connections.

Between January 2003 and December 2023, Indian investment into the state was valued at $2.9 billion. 

This positioned India as South Australia’s fifth largest trading partner, with merchandise exports to the country valued at $1.1 billion to February 2024.  

With a rapidly growing population of more than 1.4 billion people, India presents an incredible opportunity for South Australian companies looking to export into the market. 

The AI-ECTA, which entered into force in December 2022, is deepening economic ties between Australia and India, providing further opportunities for Australian and Indian businesses. 

Australia and India are now negotiating a bilateral Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) and progressing cooperation in a range of areas where South Australian companies can take advantage, including critical minerals, health, critical technology, science and agriculture. 

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