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PM Modi raises issue of attacks on temples, Khalistani separatists during talks with Australian PM Albanese

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New Delhi/Sydney: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday raised the issue of attacks on Hindu temples and the activities of Khalistani elements in Australia during his talks with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in Sydney, and also said the two sides have decided to focus on negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to boost economic ties.

In his media statement after the holding of bilateral talks, PM Modi described the bilateral ties in cricketing language – of entering the T20 mode.

On the issue of attacks on temples, he said: “Prime Minister Albanese and I have in the past discussed the issue of attacks on temples in Australia and the activities of separatist elements — we discussed the matter today again.

“We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between India and Australia by their actions or thoughts. “

He thanked PM Albanese for the actions that have already been taken, and said that the Australian PM “has once again assured me today that he will take strict actions against such elements in the future also”.

He said that during their meeting, the two sides talked about taking the bilateral Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to greater heights in the next decade and held detailed discussions on the scope for cooperation in new areas.

On the CECA, he said: “Last year, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement came into effect. Today, we have decided to focus on Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement – this will further strengthen our economic partnership and open up new avenues for cooperation.”

PM Modi said the two sides also discussed on strengthening the cooperation in mining and critical minerals and identified areas for cooperation and in the renewable energy sector.

The two sides have set up a task force on green hydrogen and also inked a Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement, which will help to strengthen the people-to-people ties.

PM Modi reiterated his announcement made at the community event yesterday of opening a new Indian consulate in Brisbane, like Australia has announced opening a new consulate in Bengaluru.

Touching on the intensifying bilateral relations, the PM said that he is visiting Australia within two months of the visit of PM Albanese to India, and that this is their sixth meeting in the past one year.

“This reflects a depth in our comprehensive relations, convergence in our views, and the maturity of our ties.

“In the language of cricket, our ties have entered the T20 mode,” he said, to smiles all around.

“Our democratic values are the foundation of our ties. Our relations are based on mutual trust and respect. The Indian community in Australia is a living bridge between our countries,” he said

PM Modi said the scope of their bilateral ties is also linked to regional stability, peace and global welfare, and referred to their participation in the Quad Summit in Hiroshima.

PM Modi also invited Prime Minister Albanese and all Australian cricket fans to India for the Cricket World Cup this year, which would also give them an opportunity to see the Diwali celebrations in India.

PM Albanese in his remarks said the fact that the two leaders are meeting for the sixth time highlights the strength of the bilateral relationship.

Referring to his visit to India in March for the Australia-India Annual Leaders’ Summit, he said the meeting then focused on the key pillars of the relationship: Trade, investment and business cooperation; Defence and security cooperation; Climate and energy cooperation; And people-to-people links.

“In our bilateral meeting today, Prime Minister Modi and I further built on those pillars.”

“We reiterated our shared ambition for an early conclusion of the Australia-India Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement later this year.”

PM Albanese said that Renewable energy was a focus and an important topic in their discussions.

“I am pleased that we have just witnessed the signing of the Terms of Reference of the Australia-India Green Hydrogen Taskforce.

“The Taskforce will comprise Australian and Indian experts in renewable hydrogen and report to the Australian-Indian Ministerial Energy Dialogue on the opportunities which are there for Australia and India to cooperate in this important area of renewable hydrogen,” he said.

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