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Australia, India Forge Closer Ties on Minerals, Security

Prime ministers Anthony Albanese and Narendra Modi also discussed Ukraine and food supply chains, and signed a migration deal

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attend a community event at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia May 23, 2023. AAP Image/Dean Lewins via REUTERS
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australia's Prime Minister Anthony Albanese attend a community event at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, on May 23, 2023. Photo: Reuters


Australia and India’s leaders Anthony Albanese and Narendra Modi met on Wednesday looking to forge closer economic and security ties, including improved critical minerals cooperation.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi also discussed the impact of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine on developing countries, particularly food and fuel security, Indian officials said.

Modi is visiting Australia for the first time since 2014, and two months after Albanese travelled to India.

India and Australia are members of the Quad group of nations, which also includes Japan and the United States, and Modi had been due to attend a Quad leaders meeting Sydney. 


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But that meeting was held on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in Tokyo instead, as US President Joe Biden needed to return directly to Washington.

“Quad leaders stand together for an open, stable, secure and prosperous Indo Pacific region … where all countries large and small benefit from a regional balance that keeps the peace,” Albanese told reporters after a bilateral meeting with Modi.

Albanese said he and Modi had also discussed trade, migration and renewable energy, and the two nations had established a hydrogen task force to expand cooperation on clean energy.

Australia, whose largest trading partner is China, is seeking to diversify its export markets, including forging closer trade ties with India.

India is Australia’s sixth largest trading partner, while around 750,000 people in Australia claim Indian ancestry.


Mining, Minerals Cooperation Discussed

Modi said they had discussed increasing cooperation on mining and critical minerals and also signed a migration deal to boost Indian student and business travel to Australia.

“We talked about taking the Australia-India comprehensive strategic partnership to greater heights in the next decade,” he told reporters. Indian officials later said the next round of trade negotiations will be in June and July.

A migration agreement “will further strengthen our living bridge” Modi said, referring to the Indian diaspora in Australia, which is the second-largest and fastest growing diaspora group in the country. On Tuesday, thousands of overseas Indians cheered Modi at a rally in one of Sydney’s biggest sporting arenas.

Modi travelled to Australia after holding a meeting with 14 Pacific island leaders in Papua New Guinea.

India’s foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra told reporters in Sydney that Modi and Albanese had discussed synergies with Australia’s development programs in the Pacific islands. India’s Pacific islands agenda was focussed on economic and health partnerships, Kwatra said.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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