Australian PM to begin India tour from Wednesday

The PM will be accompanied by Minister for Trade and Tourism, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, along with senior officials and a high-level business delegation…reports Asian Lite News

In what would prove to be significant for the ongoing relations between New Delhi and Canberra, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has decided to visit India on a four-day visit beginning on March 8, along with his cabinet ministers, senior officials, and a high-level business delegation.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the Australian Prime Minister is arriving in India on his maiden visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; he will land in Ahmedabad on the day of Holi.

The Australian Prime Minister will be accompanied by Senator Don Farrell, Minister for Trade and Tourism, and Madeleine King MP, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, along with senior officials and a high-level business delegation.

This will be Prime Minister Albanese’s first visit to India in his current role. Prime Minister Albanese will arrive in Ahmedabad on March 8 on the day of Holi. He will also visit Mumbai on March 9, before arriving in New Delhi later in the day.

In New Delhi, Prime Minister Albanese will be accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan on March 10, the Ministry said.

Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Albanese will hold the Annual Summit to discuss areas of cooperation under the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, besides regional and global issues of mutual interest.

Prime Minister Albanese will also call on President Droupadi Murmu.

India and Australia share warm and friendly relations based on common values and democratic principles.

The Strategic Partnership between the two countries was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in June 2020 which has been strengthened and deepened through frequent high-level exchanges and enhanced cooperation across sectors.

In 2020, India and Australia signed the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement which allows militaries of both countries to use each other’s bases for replenishment and repair of supplies, besides facilitating scaling up of overall defence cooperation.

Over the years, an array of institutional mechanism has been put in place to promote bilateral cooperation. Bilateral mechanisms include high level visits, Annual Meetings of Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers’ Framework Dialogue, 2+2 Defence and Foreign Ministers’ Dialogue, Joint Trade & Commerce Ministerial Commission, Defence Policy Talks, Australia-India Education Council, Defence Services Staff Talks, Energy Dialogue, JWGs on different issues.

Navies of India, Australia, Japan and the USA also participated in Phase I of Exercise Malabar 2021 from August 26-29, 2021 off Guam and in Phase II in the Bay of Bengal from October 12-15, 2021. India participated as an Observer in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2021 in July 2021.

Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, Chief of Navy visited India in March 2022. Australia participated in Exercise Milan in March 2022 in Vizag. Lt General Rick Burr, Chief of Australian Army visited India in March 2022. General Angus J Campbell and Greg Moriarty, Secretary of the Department of Defence visited India in April 2022.

Air Marshal Mel Hupfield, Chief of Royal Australian Air force visited India in May 2022. Indian Ship INS Sumedha visited Fremantle port in Perth on August 15-17, 2022 to celebrate India@75.

Indian Air force participated in Exercise Pitch Black in Northern Territory from August 18-September 9, 2022. Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff visited Australia on 25-29 September 2022. INS Satpura participated at the multinational Exercise KAKADU in Darwin in September 2022.

A Maritime Partnership Exercise involving Royal Australian Navy (RAN) ships HMAS Adelaide and HMAS Anzac and Indian Navy Ships Jalashwa and Kavaratti along with their embarked helicopters was held in the Bay of Bengal from November 02 to 03, 2022 as part of Australia’s Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2022 (IPE 22).

The 2nd India-Australia JWG meeting on Research, Industry and Materiel Cooperation was held at Canberra on November 22, 2022.

India-Australia Joint Military Exercise AUSTRAHIND 2022 was held in Rajasthan from November 28 to December 11, 2022 between Indian Army and the Australian Army, first exercise in the series of AUSTRA HIND with participation of all arms and services contingent from both armies.

Prime Minister Albanese’s visit is expected to provide further momentum to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

India and Australia are members of the Quadrilateral group which just concluded its foreign minister-level meeting on the sidelines of G-20 foreign ministers’ meet in New Delhi.

India and Australia are also strong trade partners. India is 9th largest trading partner of Australia. During 2021, bilateral trade in goods and services with India was US$ 27.5 billion, with exports of goods and services worth US$ 10.5 billion and imports of goods and services worth US$ 17 billion; balance of trade is in favour of Australia by US$ 6.5 billion India’s merchandise exports to Australia grew 135% between 2019 and 2021.

India’s main exports to Australia are refined petroleum, medicaments (incl. veterinary), pearls & gems, jewellery, made-up textile articles, women’s clothing (excl knitted), other textile clothing, manufactures of base metal, while India’s major imports are coal, confidential items of trade, copper ores & concentrates, natural gas, non-ferrous waste & scrap, ferrous waste & scrap and education related services.

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