On Wednesday, May 24, 2023, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi struck new agreements with the Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese on migration and green hydrogen. He also raised concerns about attacks on Hindu temples in Sydney.
Modi is the only leader of the Quad nations to continue with his scheduled visit to Australia after the Group of Seven summit in Hiroshima, Japan.
However, his visit has also been protested by activists who accuse his government of suppressing Muslim and other minorities’ rights, as well as press freedom.
Anti-Modi posters were seen around Sydney, and Hindu temples in Sydney’s west were recently vandalized. Sikhs have also used the visit to demand a separate state.
Modi, a Hindu, divulged that he had raised the issue of attacks on temples with Albanese, who assured him that authorities would take “strict actions” against the culprits.
In a joint press conference with Albanese, Modi informed reporters that, “We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between India and Australia by their actions or thoughts.” He made these remarks through an interpreter.
The Indian diaspora accounts for only 3% of Australia’s population but is the nation’s fastest growing ethnic minority. Modi described the diaspora as the real strength in the growing bilateral relationship.
Modi and Albanese’s meeting on Wednesday “reinforced their commitment to an open, prosperous and secure” Indo-Pacific region, the Australian Prime Minister’s office disclosed in a statement.
The Prime Ministers announced a new migration agreement that will promote two-way mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers and business people. They also agreed on the terms of reference on a bilateral Green Hydrogen Task Force that will promote cooperation on producing the gas without use of fossil fuels.
The leaders said that they expect to complete negotiations on a free trade deal before the end of the year. They also announced new diplomatic posts in Bengaluru, India, and Brisbane, Australia.
Trade Between India And Australia To Double In Next Five Years
On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, Modi addressed the Indian diaspora at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. The Indian Prime Minister was welcomed by around 20,000 cheering fans.
Modi told the audience that he expected trade between the two countries to double in the next five years.
“Our positive cooperation is growing in areas like climate action, disaster management, strategic technologies, reliable supply chain, education and health security.”Narendra Modi
Modi shared the stage with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who compared the reception by the primarily Indian crowd at Qudos Bank Arena to a concert by U.S. rock star Bruce Springsteen at the same venue.
“The last time I saw someone on the stage here was Bruce Springsteen and he didn’t get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got,” Albanese told the crowd. Using Springsteen’s nickname, Albanese said, “Prime Minister Modi is the Boss.”
India is Australia’s sixth largest trading partner. Last year, the two-way exchange of goods and services valued at 46.5 billion Australian dollars ($31 billion).