On May 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be meeting the new Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in person on the sidelines of the QUAD Leaders Summit in Tokyo. Both leaders in their first meeting in Tokyo will review the India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
During their first bilateral meeting which will take place after the QUAD summit, PM Modi and his new Australian counterpart will also exchange views on regional and global developments of mutual interest. The last bilateral meeting between PM Modi and the former Australian leader Scott Morrison had taken place virtually in March this year.
India & Australia & QUAD
The elections which took place on Saturday have declared a new PM in Australia and he will be travelling to Japan for the QUAD Summit. This will be his first international trip representing his country.
On Saturday at a special briefing ahead of the visit of PM Modi to Tokyo, in response to a question, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said: “The elections are going on in Australia and the next PM of Australia is likely to attend the QUAD Summit. And a meeting with the new PM is expected to take place.”
Adding, “India, Australia strategic partnership has bipartisan support and the discussion between the two leaders will be forward leaning and how to build on it further”.
Both countries last month signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA).
More about the new Australian leader
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is Australia’s first PM from a non Anglo-Celtic background and represents the first Labour government in almost a decade. He is also one of the longest serving politicians in that country and is expected to reflect modern Australia.
Modi heading to QUAD Leaders Summit
The focus of the third edition of the QUAD summit next week is going to be on securing the Indo-Pacific Region. Leaders of Japan (host nation), India, Australia and the US will gather in Tokyo to review the progress made on the various initiatives announced under QUAD.
India’s Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that PM Modi is expected to have bilateral meetings with the other leaders of the member countries of the QUAD on May 24. PM Modi will also be meeting with the Indian Diaspora in Japan and meeting with the top industry representatives of that country.
During his official visit to Japan at the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, PM Modi will be in Tokyo for two days May 23-24 and will hold bilateral meetings with the leaders of the QUAD including US President Joe Biden, PM of Japan and Australia.
Agenda of the summit
Outlining the agenda of the summit, the foreign secretary said that the leaders will get an opportunity to step up the initiatives of the QUAD.
He also said that there will be a special session on promoting vaccine confidence. In 2021, the QUAD had announced a vaccine partnership and the aim of the initiative is to help provide one billion doses of vaccines by the end of 2022 to the Indo-Pacific region. Next week, the QUAD members will hold a special session on the sidelines of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) world health assembly.
Also the leaders will discuss continuation of cooperation on COVID-19 response as well as improving the health infrastructure.
Expansion of the QUAD
In response to a question the foreign secretary stated that there are no plans for the expansion of the QUAD.
India & Japan at QUAD
The two Prime Ministers will have a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the summit and the focus of talks will be on further strengthening of bilateral economic cooperation, trade and investment, defence and security, clean energy and cooperation in northeast India.
Indo-Pacific has challenges and opportunities
He also said in the briefing that the QUAD leaders will discuss opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific. This was in response to a question relating to China.
He will have a bilateral meeting with US president Biden on May 24. “The India-US relationship is multi-faceted, has acquired momentum, depth and is diversified,” Foreign Secretary said.