Doorstop - New Delhi

New Delhi, India
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, this brings to a conclusion an extraordinarily successful visit here, where we have strengthened the cultural, economic and defence ties with India. Australia and India have a great friendship. We have complementary economies. We can grow those economies together so much more in the future. The fact that I was accompanied here by more than 25 senior business leaders as well as 34 leaders of our clean energy industries, shows the opportunities which are there. India, as it transitions to clean energy, can work with Australia because we have complementary economies. The critical minerals industry will be vital. I spoke with one Indian company that is looking at investing billions in Australia, including in manufacturing of solar panels. We have an opportunity as well to build the cultural ties. The cricket test continues today into day three, unusually, with only ten wickets having fallen. And congratulations to Usman Khawaja and Cam Green on the first of what will be, no doubt in my mind, many test centuries ahead. The other ties which are there, of course, are in arts and culture and we have an agreement about production as well. The Indian film industry is the largest in the world and getting those ties is also about our economic growth. We also, on defence, will cooperate through the Malabar Exercises later this year. And we've invited India to participate as well in the Talisman Sabre exercises off Queensland later this year. Can I just thank Prime Minister Modi for the extraordinary generosity of his visit. I can't think of how it could possibly have been more open, more generous, more welcoming. And even on the way here from the airport, the signs had been changed from 'welcome 'to 'thank you for your visit'. Somehow, overnight that had occurred. I was able to spend an extraordinary amount of time with Prime Minister Modi and that's important. Relationships can be built through dialogue and through meetings and around meeting tables. But nothing beats sitting down one on one, which I did on no less than five occasions with Prime Minister Modi over the last two days. I really look forward to welcoming the Prime Minister as part of the Quad leaders' meeting that will be held in Australia in May. I'm not quite sure how we reciprocate the welcome that I've received here, but that will be a challenge for the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Department of Foreign Affairs, that I will put to them. And any ideas are very welcome from those people who have been with us on this journey.

JOURNALIST: Put on an extra test.

PRIME MINISTER: But I do very much look forward to welcoming Prime Minister Modi along with Prime Minister Kishida and President Biden for that visit. And we were able to discuss some of the elements of Prime Minister Modi's visit. I look forward, as well, to being here in September for the G20 meeting. That will be of great significance. India is a world power. It's a major economy, but it also is a developing economy. So it can play a central role in providing that bridge between north and south that is so important going forward. And the fact that India will no doubt host a very successful G20 will be a significant event. And then Prime Minister Modi has also invited me back for another bilateral at the end of the year, but we'll have further discussions and arrangements about that. Now we are headed to the United States, where I will meet with Prime Minister Sunak as well as President Biden in bilateral meetings. And then, of course, we will be progressing announcements relating to AUKUS. The United States and the United Kingdom have historical relationships with Australia, going back, of course, a very long period of time. More than a century, we have stood side by side in Australia's time of need, but also when the UK or the United States have needed our assistance as well. But this agreement is about the future. It's about making sure that we invest in our security, but also that we invest in our relationships. And that is my government's attitude towards foreign affairs and diplomacy. We want a peaceful, secure world, but part of that is investing in our national defence, but also investing in our relationships. So it's not just about dollars. It's not just about capability. It's also about the way that Australia is seen in the world, about dealing with other nations diplomatically, treating people with respect, making sure that our word can be trusted. That's my aim on the international stage, working with Penny Wong and working with Richard Marles as the Defence Minister and our entire team. And I do want to conclude by just thanking the media for coming on this visit. I want to thank all of the Australian personnel. A visit like this doesn't just happen. I thank High Commissioner Barry O'Farrell and thank him for his service. He has been a fantastic High Commissioner to India for Australia. He has brought the skills that he developed in political life to represent the national interest. I extended his term here deliberately so that he would be here for this visit. That will conclude in June. We've announced a senior DFAT official as his replacement. But I thank him for his service. And lastly, once again, I just thank very much Prime Minister Modi for the extraordinarily warm welcome that I've received here. I thank him for his friendship and I look forward to an ongoing relationship.

JOURNALIST: What assurances did you give Prime Minister Modi about the protection of Hindu temples in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: I gave him the assurance that Australia is a country that respects people's faith. That we don't tolerate the sort of extreme actions and attacks that we've seen on religious buildings, be they Hindu temples, mosques, synagogues, or churches. This has no place in Australia. And we will take every action through our police and also our security agencies to make sure that anyone responsible for this faces the full force of the law. We're a tolerant multicultural nation, and there is no place in Australia for this activity.

JOURNALIST: President Biden and Prime Minister Sunak have spoken to other world leaders across Europe about the AUKUS arrangement. Have you spoken, or did you speak about that to Prime Minister Modi? Have you briefed other leaders around the Pacific?

PRIME MINISTER: We are taking appropriate action. I confirm that I briefed Prime Minister Modi, one on one. I treated him with the respect that he deserves, and briefings are taking place, as appropriate, with other countries.

JOURNALIST: There are people at home who were led to believe that all the submarines would be built in Australia and that would mean major investment in infrastructure, in manufacturing and in jobs. What do you tell the workers of Australia about how many of the submarines will actually be built in Australia?

PRIME MINISTER: We'll make the announcement on Monday. But I'll make this point. This is about jobs, including jobs and manufacturing and Adelaide in particular will be a big beneficiary of this announcement, as well as Western Australia. This is about building up our capacity. And when you talk about the issue of manufacturing submarines in Australia, that's an absolute priority for us. That will be seen as part of the announcement

JOURNALIST: You said you'll spend whatever you need to on defence, do you need to take the Australian people with you in explaining why this enormous AUKUS cost is worthwhile?

PRIME MINISTER: Yes, we do. And yes, we will. That's why some of, frankly, the juvenile response of the Opposition to some of the fiscal matters that are before us deserves contempt. Australia faces real challenges. We have said very clearly and explicitly that there are major pressures on expenditure, not just in defence, but in other areas as well. It's why the Government is working so hard. It's why the ERC's been meeting regularly. It's why we need to be prepared to make some difficult decisions. You can't have a circumstance whereby you've left a trillion dollars of debt, a trillion dollars of Liberal debt, but they're not be prepared to take any action whatsoever to repair the budget.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, have you spoken with Emmanuel Macron this week? And how important is it to have a second dry dock in WA to complement the one in Sydney with the new submarines coming?

PRIME MINISTER: Well, you'll see the announcement will be made on on Monday. And we deal diplomatically with other countries in an appropriate way. I have confirmed that I have discussed it with Prime Minister Modi because obviously I'm here and that's important. But we will treat our our partners and our friends with the respect that it deserves. And that's why one of the things we do, as I said before, we deal diplomatically. It's a different government. We don't use megaphones. We behave diplomatically and we bring our friends with us.