Modi meets Albanese: Talks focus on better economic ties, attack on temples in Australia

PM Modi invites Albanese to India for the Cricket World Cup this year

Australia India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, shakes hands with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following a joint press conference at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia | AP

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Australia for the last leg of his three-nation tour, held bilateral meetings with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney on Wednesday. 

The meeting was also attended by India's External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval. The talks focused on boosting overall bilateral ties, including in areas of trade and investment, defence and renewable energy. 

At a joint press meeting after the talks, the Prime Minister said this was the sixth meeting with Albanese in the past year. "This reflects the depth of our comprehensive relations and the maturity of our ties. In the language of cricket, our ties have entered the T20 mode," Modi added. 

"Bilateral relations between Australia and India have touched new highs and high-level engagements have been constant and have increased since 2014," Modi said in opening remarks to the meeting.

Adding that the talks centred on taking India-Australia's comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights, Modi said they had constructive discussions on strengthening strategic cooperation in the sectors of mining and critical minerals. "We have decided to set up a task force on green hydrogen," the Prime Minister said.    

"We decided to focus on a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement that will further boost economic ties," Modi said.

On the issue of attack on temples in Australia, the Prime Minister said the matter was discussed on Wednesday too. "PM Anthony Albanese and I have in the past discussed the issue of attacks on temples in Australia and activities of separatist elements. We discussed the matter today also. We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between the India-Australia relationship by their action or thoughts. PM Albanese assured me once again today that he will take strict actions against such elements," Modi told reporters at the joint press conference.  

Calling the Indian community in Australia the living bridge between both countries, the leaders discussed taking the Australia-India comprehensive strategic partnership to greater heights in the next decade. He added that a migration agreement "will further strengthen our living bridge.

He also invited Albanese and all Australian cricket fans to India for the upcoming Cricket World Cup this year. "At that time, you will also get to see the grand Diwali celebration in India," Modi said. 

Meanwhile, the Australian Prime Minister announced the establishment of a new Australian Consulate General in Bengaluru, which will supposedly help connect Australian businesses to India's booming digital and innovation ecosystem.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister was accorded a Ceremonial Guard of Honour at the Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia. He also signed the visitors' book at the Admiralty House in Sydney. 

Modi also addressed the Indian community at a rally in Sydney that was also attended by Albanese.

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