Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese started his four-day India trip from the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, where he met the Indian and Australian cricket teams team along with the Indian Prime Minister.
Albanese's visit is also special because it is the first trip by an Australian PM to India in six years, and it comes on the heels of Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA), which started in December 2022. The last time an Australian PM set his foot on Indian soil was by Malcom Turnbull in 2017.
The Australian PM is accompanied by Australia's Minister of Trade and Tourism, Senator Don Farell, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Madeleine King, and other senior officials.
Why Albanese is in India: The main reason why Australian PM is in India is to deal with a complex geopolitical scenario, majorly involving China, an opponent with whom India has not had good relations in the past few years due border disputes.
"Our Prime Ministers are meeting at a time of global complexities where geo-strategic competition is causing disruptions," Australian envoy to India Barry O'Farrell told Bloomberg.
The primary motive of Australian PM to India is to deepen the business and defence ties with Asia's third largest economy in the face of rising strategic competition from China.
The Australian leader's four-day visit to India is also intended to revitalize the trade talks with India. The two nations had signed an interim trade pact last year and will look to extend it, and to limit the growing reliance on China.
Here are other topics which will be discussed during the bilateral talks:
Rare-earth mineral extraction: The Australian PM is expected to announce deal with Indian companies including KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India Limited) to invest in the rare-earth mineral sector in Australia.
As Australian Trade Minister Don Farrell and Resources minister Madeleine King are accompanying Albanese for the state visit, the free trade agreement with India is likely to be finalized and business in rare minerals of Australia is on the list.
"Australia's critical minerals investment partnership with India has significant potential to help advance critical minerals project in Australia and contribute to the diversification of global supply chains," Resources Minister Madeleine King said to Bloomberg.
The coal issue: India has been facing a coal shortage for past few years, and if a deal on coal transport will help India resolve the crisis. In the past we have seen instances of Indian power sector having very limited quantity of coal for power generation.
A free trade deal between India and Australia was signed few days ago, and it is waiting for Australian Parliament's approval. If approved, it could provide an opportunity for India to boost the coal imports.
Announcement of India's first foreign university college: Australian PM might is expected to announce Deakin University's setting up a physical campus at the free markets GIFT city in Gujarat, Bloomberg reported.
Quad strengthening: Australian PM's visit to India also would strenthen the Quad group which is basically a group of four countries (Japan, India, Australia and US). Japan Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, for the same reason, is also planning a six-day visit to India from March 19.
Australia is due to host Quad leaders summit in Sydney later this year.
Clean energy: India and Australia are also keen to cooperate in the field of clean energy. In February 2022, both the countries had signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on New and Renewable Energy which provides for cooperation towards bringing down the cost of renewable energy technologies, especially ultralow-cost solar and clean hydrogen.