Australian prime minister embarks on India trip

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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Wednesday embarked on his four-day visit to India along with a high-level delegation. “Today, I leave to go to India, where I will visit Ahmedabad, Mumbai and New Delhi,” Albanese told reporters before departing for India. During his India trip, Albanese is accompanied by 25 senior business leaders, chief executive officers of major Australian corporations, and leaders of universities. Albanese will hold bilateral meetings with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and also meet with Indian business leaders, according to a transcript published on the Prime Minister’s official website. Last year, the two countries signed Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement to enhance trade. Under the agreement, tariffs will be eliminated on more than 85% of Australian goods exported to India, rising to almost 91% over the next 10 years, according to the country’s trade ministry. While 96% of Indian imports are now duty-free and this figure will rise to 100% in the next four years. “India is currently our sixth largest trading partner, but they can be much larger in the future,” Australia’s prime minister said. “During this visit I will be giving at least seven speeches over the coming days, talking about the opportunities which are there, to have increased people-to-people relations, educational transfers, increased two-way investment, (and) increased engagement between our business communities. In response to a question about his plans to visit the US after India, and whether there will be any trilateral component, the Australian prime minister said he will meet with President Joe Biden in the US. ‘We’ll have further announcements about details soon about the arrangements that will be taking place,’ he added. According to Australian media, he is expected to announce the country’s long-awaited submarine plans alongside US and UK leaders during his visit to Washington. Last week, the Australian premier said, “And I think it is an enormous opportunity for Australia. Lastly, I do want to say that after this visit I will be visiting the United States for a bilateral meeting with President Biden. I look forward to the continuing engagement that I have with the US Administration.” Defense ties are also strengthening between the two countries, with Australia, India, the US, and Japan preparing to hold joint defense exercises in Malabar, India, later this year in August. Responding to a question that why Australia is deepening the strategic and defense relationship with India‚Ķ is it about China, Premier Albanese said the relationship is multifaceted, ranging from people-t-people trade to their security ties. “Operation Malabar will be hosted by Australia for the first time. It will be important, and those security relationships are also something that I will be having discussions with Prime Minister Modi on,” he added.

Source: Anadolu Agency