Press Statement New Delhi, India

Media statement
New Delhi, India
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
Prime Minister

ANTHONY ALBANESE, PRIME MINISTER: Well, thank you very much. I was very pleased to meet Prime Minister Modi again after our meetings at the G20 and the East Asia Summit last year. And I look forward very much to hosting Prime Minister Modi in Australia for the Quad Leaders’ Summit in May and then returning to India in September for the G20 Leaders’ Summit. The relationship with India is multifaceted. The frequent high-level contact between Australia and India has further strengthened cooperation across a range of areas, including trade and investment, climate and energy, defence and security and between the people of our two countries. Today Prime Minister Modi and I discussed the strength of our economic relationship, demonstrated by the entry into force of the landmark India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement last year. This has eliminated tariffs on more than 85 per cent of Australian goods exported to India, benefiting Indian consumers and providing cheaper inputs for Indian industry. We also agreed on an early conclusion of our ambitious Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement as soon as possible. And I'm hopeful that we'll be able to finalise that this year. This transformational deal will realise the full potential of the bilateral economic relationship, creating new employment opportunities and raising living standards for the people of both Australia and India. In recognition of a unique part of our bilateral economic relationship, we also discussed the potential presented by the India-Australia Audio Visual Co-Production Agreement that has been exchanged here today. This agreement will support skilled jobs, creative exchange and the development of screen projects of cultural significance in both countries. 

Prime Minister Modi and I also discussed the urgent need to address climate change and support the implementation of the Paris Agreement. I am proud of the existing cooperation between Australia and India on solar and hydrogen – two technologies that are critical to our energy transition goals – and the opportunities for us to work more closely to secure critical minerals supply chains. I am pleased that today we have exchanged terms of reference for the Australia-India Solar Task Force and are able to announce Australian solar expert, Professor Renate Egan, and eminent Indian scientist, Professor Anil Kottantharayil, as Taskforce Co-chairs. The Taskforce will provide our governments with advice on opportunities to accelerate solar PV deployment and enhance supply chains. 

I welcome significant and ambitious progress under the defence and security pillar of our relationship. Prime Minister Modi and I discussed the increasingly uncertain global security environment and committed to strengthening the Australia-India defence and security partnership to address shared challenges and work towards an open, stable and prosperous Indo Pacific. I welcome increased defence information sharing between Australia and India, including in the maritime domain. 

We also discussed Exercise Malabar, which Australia is honoured to be hosting this year. In recognition of the strong education links between Australia and India, I welcome a new agreement to support the mutual recognition of Australian and Indian education qualifications and I am keen to further expand the presence of Australian universities here in India. I am also pleased to report that officials have made significant progress on a new Migration and Mobility Partnership Arrangement. This arrangement will promote and support the mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers, businesspeople and other professionals from the emerging and high-tech sectors now and into the future, while also enhancing cooperation on issues pertaining to irregular migration. We hope to have more to announce on this new initiative the next time we meet in Australia. 

In sports collaboration, I was also honoured to join Prime Minister Modi at the first day of the fourth cricket match at the Border-Gavaskar test series on Thursday. And it was also a great honour, I must say Prime Minister, to meet Sunil Gavaskar, VVS Laxman, and other legends including Harbhajan Singh, yesterday. It was great to open the match at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a stadium designed by a Brisbane-based architectural firm. A concrete example literally, of the cooperation between Australia and India and the mutual benefit that arises from it. I am pleased to have exchanged a revised Sports Memorandum of Understanding today, which will promote cooperation between our sport loving nations, including recognising equality, diversity and inclusion in sports. And that kabaddi will be showcased at the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in regional Victoria.

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Tim Thomas as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of the new Centre for Australia-India Relations. The Centre will build greater understanding of the Australia-India relationship and support opportunities flowing from that burgeoning connection. I am proud of the deep and vibrant ties between Australians and Indians. These links will grow closer as our cooperation on education, renewable energy, defence, culture and sports expands. I thank you once again Prime Minister Modi for your extraordinary welcome here to your vibrant, diverse, wonderful nation. It has been a great honour to be here.