No Quad summit...so why is PM Modi in Australia?

DailyBiteMay 23, 2023 | 13:39

No Quad summit...so why is PM Modi in Australia?

PM Modi is visiting Australia as a guest of the Australian government from May 22 to May 24. (Photo: PMO)

Australia on May 17 cancelled the Quad (US, Japan, India, Australia) summit in Sydney after US President Joe Biden cut short his Asia tour due to debt ceiling crisis in America.

The summit between US, Japan, India and Australia would have focussed on countering China's growing influence and in the Indo-Pacific region.

Even though the summit is cancelled, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Australia for the final leg of his three-nation tour.


What is PM Modi doing in Australia?

PM Modi is visiting Australia as a guest of the Australian government from May 22 to May 24. On Tuesday (May 23), he met business leaders of Australian companies appealed for enhancing cooperation between Australia and India in areas such as technology, and clean energy.

The Indian PM will also address the Indian diaspora at the Qudos Bank Arena stadium in Sydney later in the day. Modi will hold talks with Australian PM Anthony Albanese on Wednesday (May 24).

During an interview to The Australian newspaper, Modi said he wants to take the relationship with Australia to the "next level". He said he wants a closer defence and security ties to help ensure an "open and free" Indo-Pacific.


India-Australia business ties

Modi held meetings with Hancock Prospecting Executive Chairman Gina Rinehart, Fortescue Future Industry Executive Chairman Andrew Forrest, and AustraliaSuper CEO Paul Schroder on Tuesday.

During his meeting with Rinehart, the PM highlighted the reforms and initiatives being undertaken in India and invited her to partner in technology, investment and skilling in the mining and minerals sector, a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said.


While talking to Schroder, Modi said that India is one of the most preferred major economies for foreign investments in the world and invited AustralianSuper to partner with India. AustralianSuper is an Australian superannuation fund .

PM Modi also welcomed the Fortescue Future Industry plans to work with Indian companies in the field of Green Hydrogen. "Emphasising India's ambitious renewable energy plans, the PM highlighted the transformative reforms and initiatives being taken by India, such as the Green Hydrogen Mission," the MEA statement read.

During April 2000 and December 2022, India received USD 1.07 billion in investments from Australia, according to government data.Australia is the 13th largest trading partner of India in 2022-23. While exports stood at USD 6.95 billion, imports from that country in the last fiscal aggregated at USD 19 billion, reported PTI.

Indian diaspora in Australia

PM Modi and Albanese will attend a community event in Sydney on Wednesday to celebrate Australia's dynamic and diverse Indian diaspora. PM Modi set to attend special community event in Sydney and the event's organisers, the Indian Australian Diaspora Foundation (IADF), are expecting a large turnout.

"The Indian Australian community is excited to welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi after nine years. He visited Australia in 2014 and was greeted by a large crowd at Sydney's community reception," Jay Shah, one of IADF's directors, told the Special Broadcasting Service, an Australian hybrid-funded public service broadcaster.


Supporters of PM Modi have organised special buses from Brisbane and Canberra.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 census, 619,164 people in Australia declared that they were of ethnic Indian ancestry. This comprises 2.8 per cent of the Australian population, reported PTI.

Eye on China

Japan and US have not come to Australia, but India-Australia bilateral talks are likely to focus on China and its growing influence in the region. PM Modi wants a closer bilateral defense and security ties between the two nations.

PM Modi said India and Australia have shared interests in a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific and that there is alignment in both countries'' strategic viewpoints. "The high degree of mutual trust between us has naturally translated into greater cooperation on defence and security matters. Our navies are participating in joint naval exercises," he said in an interview to The Australian.

Australian PM Albanese has told the Parliament that the country will for the first time host the Malabar naval exercises involving India, the United States and Japan this year in another sign of a deepening commitment to the Quad, reported ABC News.

Last updated: May 23, 2023 | 14:59
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