Modi and Albanese talk temple attacks, trade and renewable energy

New Delhi: India and Australia on Wednesday committed themselves to the conclusion of a comprehensive trade deal by the end of the year, even as Prime Minister raised India’s concerns over the recent incidents of attacks on temples in Australia and activities of pro-Khalistani elements in that country.

In his statement in the presence of Anthony  Albanese, PM Modi said their bilateral relations are based on “mutual trust and respect” and that the Indian community in Australia is a “living bridge” between the two countries. “Prime Minister Albanese and I have in the past discussed the issue of attacks on temples in Australia and activities of separatist elements. We discussed it today also,” said Modi.

“We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between India and Australia by their actions or thoughts. I thank the 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 added.

The two leaders met on the final day of Modi’s three-day visit to Australia to review bilateral ties and explore new areas of cooperation such as critical minerals and renewable energy. The two sides signed a Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement that will open up opportunities for students, researchers and businesspeople.

Describing his meeting with Albanese as “constructive”, Modi said they deliberated on taking the Australia-India comprehensive strategic partnership to “greater heights” in the next decade. 

“Last year, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) came into effect. Today, we have decided to focus on the comprehensive economic cooperation agreement – this will further strengthen our economic partnership and open up new avenues for cooperation,” Modi said at a joint media interaction after the talks.

In his remarks, Albanese said the aim is to conclude the CECA by the end of the year. “We reiterated our shared ambition for an early conclusion of the Australia-India comprehensive economic cooperation agreement later this year,” he said.

The Australian PM said that they had constructive discussions on strengthening strategic cooperation in the sectors of mining and critical minerals. And, they also identified concrete areas for cooperation in the renewable energy sector.

‘’We had constructive discussions on strengthening our strategic cooperation in the sectors of mining and critical minerals. We have identified concrete areas for cooperation in renewable energy,‘’ Modi said.

‘’It was decided to set up a task force on Green Hydrogen,‘’ he added.

During the media interaction, PM Modi and Albanese noted they had met six times in the past year and said this reflects the strength of the bilateral relationship. 

The visit of PM Modi to Australia solidified the commitment of both countries to deepen their economic ties, address security concerns, and explore opportunities in renewable energy. With their shared vision, India and Australia are poised to strengthen their strategic partnership and foster cooperation in various sectors for mutual benefit and regional stability.

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