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India-Aus set up task force on green hydrogen; Modi-Albanese discuss ties

Modi's three-nation tour also included attending the G7 and Quad summits in Hiroshima and visiting Papua New Guinea


Photo; @PMOIndia

Archis Mohan New Delhi

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On the concluding day of his Australia visit on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese discussed ways to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation.

The two sides announced that they have finalised setting up a task force on green hydrogen. India will open a consulate in Brisbane and Australia in Bengaluru.
In his meeting with Albanese on Wednesday, the PM flagged the vandalisation of temples in Australia, as he has in the past, including the activities of separatist elements.

“It is not acceptable to us that any element harms the warm and friendly relations between India and Australia by their thoughts or actions,” Modi said. Last year, India-Australia ECTA (Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement) came into effect. Today, we have decided to focus on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA),” Modi said.

He said he had constructive discussions on strengthening bilateral strategic cooperation in mining and critical minerals. Modi said his Australia visit has come within two months of Albanese’s visit to India and is their sixth meeting in the past one year.
“If I may say in the language of cricket, our ties have entered the T-20 mode,” the PM said.

He said India-Australia relations are linked to regional stability, peace and global welfare. The two leaders also discussed the Indo-Pacific at the Quad summit in Hiroshima. 

The agreement on migration and mobility partnership arrangement (MMPA), which the two sides signed, will further facilitate the mobility of students, professionals, researchers and academics. It would also be through a new skilled pathway named MATES (Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme), specifically created for India. 

The two leaders welcomed the finalisation of the India-Australia Hydrogen Task Force. It will advise on opportunities to accelerate the manufacture and deployment of clean hydrogen, focusing on hydrogen electrolysers, fuel cells and supporting infrastructure, standards and regulations.

The two leaders renamed a suburb in Sydney as ‘Little India’, reflecting the strong bond between the two strategic partners, the ministry of external affairs said.
Later in the day, the PM met 19 Australian business leaders at a roundtable.

They are from Commonwealth Bank of America, Rio Tinto, National Australia Bank, Australian Industry Bank, BHP, Atlassian, University of Sydney, Orica, Cochlear Quintis Sandalwood and Universities Australia.

Modi’s three-nation tour also included attending the G7 and Quad summits in Hiroshima and visiting Papua New Guinea.

His next foreign visit is to the US, the PM’s first state visit to that country, from June 22 to 24.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Tuesday that President Joe Biden receiving a large number of requests to the state dinner he is hosting for Modi shows the excitement level.

“I think that is a good thing, to get those requests. I think that is important and shows why it is critical to continue growing that partnership that we have with India,” Jean-Pierre said.
The visit, she said, “Will also strengthen our two countries’ shared commitment to a free, open, prosperous, and secure Indo-Pacific and shared resolve to evaluate our strategic technology partnership, including in defence, clean energy, and space.”

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First Published: May 24 2023 | 8:06 PM IST

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