Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday extracted a firm assurance from his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese that he would continue to take strong action against anti-India elements and those attacking temples Down Under as their two nations signed a migration and mobility partnership accord to deepen bilateral ties.
“We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between India and Australia by their actions or thoughts – I thank Prime Minister for the actions that have already been taken. Prime Minister Albanese has once again assured me today that he will take strict actions against such elements in the future also,” he said at a brief media interaction after talks between the two leaders.
Observing that India-Australia ties have entered what is called the ”T20 mode” in Cricket, Modi said democratic values were the foundation of the relationship. ”Our relations are based on mutual trust and respect. The Indian community in Australia is a living bridge between our countries,” he added.
He said he had discussed with Albanese ways to take the Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to greater heights in the next decade by identifying new areas for cooperation.
Last year, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement came into effect and now the two nations have decided to focus on a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement – this would further strengthen their economic partnership and open up new avenues for cooperation, Modi said.
He said the two countries have decided to set up a task force on green hydrogen. technology. India would soon open a new consulate in Brisbane, just as Australia has announced opening a new consulate in Bengaluru.
The Indian leader said the scope of India-Australia ties was not limited to merely the two countries but also linked to regional stability, peace and global welfare. India-Australia cooperation could be beneficial for the growth of the global south also, he added.
Modi said the migration and mobility partnership agreement signed between the two nations today would further strengthen ”our living bridge” while the Australian PM said the accord would promote the exchange of students, graduates, researchers and business people; expand people-to-people ties and enhance cooperation in preventing people smuggling.
Referring to the recent Quad Summit of India, Australia, Japan and the United States in Hiroshima, Albanese said leaders of the four nations stand together for an open, stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region; a region where sovereignty was respected, and all countries large and small benefit from a regional balance that kept the peace.
Noting that the two countries have signed the Terms of Reference of the Australia-India Green Hydrogen Taskforce, he said the taskforce would comprise Australian and Indian experts in renewable hydrogen and report to the Australian-Indian Ministerial Energy Dialogue on the opportunities for the two countries to cooperate in this important area of renewable hydrogen.
”Investments like the taskforce will help power our industries in the future, and ensure that Australia and India meet our energy targets in the interests of both our respective countries, but also in support of the reduction of global emissions,” he added.
A PMO’s statement said the discussions between the two leaders focused on cooperation in defence and security, trade and investment, new and renewable energy, green hydrogen, critical minerals, education, migration and mobility and people-to-people ties.
The two leaders reiterated their determination to ensure a peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, underpinned by a rules-based international order. They also discussed the reform of the UN Security Council. The Australian PM expressed Australia’s strong support for India’s G20 Presidency and initiatives.