Albanese, Modi seek to score runs on migration, energy

·3-min read

Narendra Modi has declared diplomatic relations with Australia have extended well over the boundary and entered "T20 mode", following a warm reception for the leader of the cricket-mad country.

The Indian prime minister announced a new consulate would be opened in Brisbane following a bilateral with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, which marked the pair's sixth meeting in the past year.

Work also progressed between the two countries on trade and renewable energy.

"This reflects a depth in our comprehensive relations, convergence in our views, and the maturity of our ties," Mr Modi told reporters.

"In the language of cricket, our ties have entered the T20 mode."

He said democratic values were the foundation of ties between Australia and India and the relationship was underpinned by trust and respect.

"The Indian community in Australia is a living bridge between our countries."

The Indian leader raised the issue of attacks on Hindu temples in Australia, saying his country would not accept "any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between India and Australia by their actions or thoughts".

"Prime Minister Albanese has once again assured me today that he will take strict actions against such elements in the future," he said.

Mr Albanese, who will attend the G20 summit in New Delhi in September, said the countries share an ambition to conclude the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement later this year.

The leaders witnessed the signing of a migration and mobility partnership which would promote the exchange of students, graduates, researchers and business people and enhanced cooperation in preventing people smuggling.

There was also agreement on the terms of reference for a new Australia-India green hydrogen task force.

Mr Albanese announced the government would set up a new Australian consulate-general in Bengaluru to help connect Australian businesses to India's booming digital industry.

He said trade and business cooperation, defence and security ties, climate action and people-to-people links underpinned the relationship.

Mr Modi was given a rock star stadium reception at Sydney's Olympic Park on Tuesday night and on Wednesday evening he and Mr Albanese stood together in front of the Sydney Opera House as it was lit up in the colours of the Indian flag.

The pair did not mention whether they had discussed the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

New Delhi has also drawn criticism for not condemning Russia for its invasion.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Mr Modi's meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy over the weekend, where he signalled support for the nation's sovereignty, sent an important message.

"I thought that was a very important meeting and sent a very important signal about the opposition to Russia's illegal and immoral war against Ukraine," she told Sky News.

Mr Albanese earlier said India was "responsible for its own international relations", referring to India's history of non-alignment.

"India is a great supporter of peace and security and stability in our region," he said.

There was also no mention of whether the pair discussed adding traditional medicines and alternative therapies to Medicare, which the Indians have lobbied for.

Health Minister Mark Butler said Australia was interested in the expansion of traditional Indian medicine services, as it had done for Chinese medicines.

He said he welcomed applications from medical practitioners or sponsors for therapies to be included under Medicare.

The applications would be assessed by the Medical Services Advisory Council.