A poll released today by the Lowy Institute and the Australia India Institute reveals some surprising findings on Indian public opinion towards Australia.
For example, despite bad press over the security of Indian students in 2009-10, Indians hold relatively warm feelings towards Australia, ranking it fourth out of 22 countries in the survey. And 60% of Indians surveyed think it would be better if India's government and society worked more like Australia's. But there are lingering concerns about previous crimes against Indian students: 62% of Indians consider Australia a dangerous place for Indian students, although 53% consider it safer than it was a few years ago.
I sat down with the Lowy Institute's Rory Medcalf, the poll's author, to discuss the warmth Indians feel towards Australia (0:44), their concerns regarding racism in Australia (1:25), how the Australian cricket team is doing its bit diplomatically (3:15) and the sticky issue of uranium sales (3:55). Rory's reflections on what the results say about the future of Australia-India relations (1.44) are particularly insightful. In Rory's words, this not time for the Australia 'to be complacent' about our relationship with India, warning that memories of the 2009-10 student incidents can easily rise up and tarnish this important relationship.
The Poll is already receiving wide domestic and international media coverage, with opinion pieces in both The Hindu and The Australian. You can follow the Poll on Twitter using #indiaauspoll.