PM Modi raises concern over attack on temples in Australia during talks with Albanese

Both leaders also discussed various aspects of mutual cooperation including strategic convergence and common interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

Published: 10th March 2023 03:46 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th March 2023 11:00 PM   |  A+A-

Australian PM Anthony Albanese shakes hand with India's PM Narendra Modi before their meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, Mar. 10, 2023. (Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conveyed to his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese India's concerns over the attacks on temples in Australia by Khalistani supporters. 

Both leaders also carried out a detailed discussion on maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region at the first annual India-Australia Summit at the national capital.

In his media statement, Modi referred to the contribution of the Indian community in Australia and described the incidents of vandalism in Australia as a "matter of regret."

"It is a matter of regret that reports of attacks on temples have come regularly from Australia over the past few weeks. It is natural that such news worries everyone in India, and disturbs our mind," he said.

"I conveyed these feelings and concerns to Prime Minister Albanese and he has assured me that the safety of the Indian community is of special priority for him. Our teams will be in regular contact on this matter, and will cooperate as much as possible," he added.

The Indian High Commission in Canberra recently condemned the "deeply disturbing" incidents of vandalisation of three Hindu temples in Melbourne and asked the Australian Government to ensure the safety and security of members of the Indian community and their properties in the country.

In January, ISKCON's Hare Krishna Temple was vandalized in Melbourne's Albert Park area. Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Carrum Downs was vandalized on January 16 and BAPS Swaminarayan Temple in the Mill Park area on January 12.

Both leaders also discussed various aspects of mutual cooperation including strategic convergence and common interests in the Indo-Pacific region. The leaders vowed to conclude a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

On the proposed CECA, Albanese said the "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.

ALSO READ | PM Albanese visits INS Vikrant, says Australia to host Exercise Malabar

Meanwhile, PM Modi described security cooperation as an important pillar of the India-Australia comprehensive strategic partnership. "We had a detailed discussion on maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region and increasing mutual defence and security cooperation. To enhance contact and friendship among our young soldiers, we have established the General Rawat Officers Exchange Programme, which has started this month," PM Modi added.

The Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) was implemented last year and has opened up better opportunities for trade and investment between both nations. The discussions were also focused on boosting cooperation in clean energy, trade and investment, defence and security, critical minerals, migration and mobility, supply chains, education, culture and sports.

"I am proud of the deep and vibrant ties between our nations. My visit has strengthened the already close relationship that Australia enjoys with India – which is a key partner in the Indo-Pacific. Building a stronger partnership with India will deliver tangible benefits for Australia in trade and investment, education, renewable energy, defence, security and culture," said PM Albanese.

ALSO READ | Australian PM Albanese celebrates Holi in Gujarat, visits Sabarmati Ashram

The two sides also inked four agreements providing for cooperation in areas of sports, innovation, audio-visual production and solar power following the talks between Modi and Albanese.

Meanwhile, India and Australia are also moving forward with the Mobility Agreement which will be beneficial for students, workers, and professionals. The Indian diaspora is now the second largest immigrant community in Australia which is making a significant contribution to the society and economy of Australia.

Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time this year. The Malabar naval exercise began in 1992 between India and the US, while Australia was included as a permanent member in 2020. "Building real collaboration with partners like India, Japan and the US is a good thing," PM Albanese added.

In his remarks, Albanese described his country's relationship with India as "multifaceted" and said he was looking forward to hosting Modi in Australia for the Quad leaders' summit in May and then returning to India in September for the G20 summit.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI)


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