Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today said that Australia wants to cooperate with India and build a relationship in culture, and economic relations as well as in the area of security.
Addressing a press conference after being accorded a ceremonial welcome at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan here this morning, the Australian PM thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a very warm welcome in India and said that the two countries are partners and building that partnership even stronger each and every day.
"I thank PM Modi, for a very extraordinarily, generously and warm welcome here. Australia and India are great friends. We are partners and we are building that partnership even stronger each and every day," said Australian PM Albanese.
"I led a delegation here of significant business leaders as well. We want to cooperate with India and build a relationship in culture, economic relations as well as in the area of security," he said.
Mr Albanese further said that both countries are cooperating to make a better world as the cricket teams of both countries are competing to be the best in the world.
We are competing on the cricket field to be the world's best but together we are building a better world," the Australian PM said.
Prime Minister Modi welcomed his Australian counterpart at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The Australian PM also inspected a Guard of Honour.
On his maiden India trip, Mr Albanese and PM Narendra Modi briefly watched the ongoing fourth and final Test for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, between India and Australia, at Ahmedabad on Thursday.
A special coin, minted to mark the occasion, was used at the toss.
The Prime Ministers also took a lap around the stadium on a specially designed chariot to mark the occasion.
Later in the day, the Australian PM will meet External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. He will also hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
The two leaders are expected to discuss various gamut of issues to further boost the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between their nations. Besides, both leaders are also expected to hold talks on trade, investment, defence, education and renewable energy.
PM Albanese will also call on President Droupadi Murmu at the Rashtrapati Bhawan later this evening.
Earlier on Thursday, Mr Albanese mounted a fighter aircraft onboard India's first indigenous aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, in Mumbai. The Australian PM sat inside the fighter jet while officers of the Indian Navy shared details and information on India's biggest aircraft carrier.
He also watched day 1 of the final test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad.
"I'm very honoured to be here today on the newly commissioned Indian-designed and manufactured INS Vikrant, my visit reflects my government's commitment to place India at the heart of Australia's approach to India both Pacific and beyond. Whilst here, I have had the great pleasure of meeting with the talented and highly professional men and women of India's Navy. What lifts defence relationships to new levels is the resolve and foresight of those who see the relationship not just for what it is, but for what it could be. One such person is my friend, Prime Minister Modi," the Australian PM said while interacting with media persons after climbing onboard INS Vikrant.
Mr Albanese thanked PM Modi for his "dedication to driving forward our defence and security partnership which is of increasing strategic importance as we navigate the challenges of our region together".
He called India a "top-tier security partner."
"For Australia, India is a top-tier security partner. The Indian Ocean is central to both countries' security and prosperity. And there has never been a point in our country's history where we've had such a strong strategic alignment which has been reinforced by my current visit to India and will be reinforced further by Prime Minister Modi's attendance at the quad leaders meeting," the Australian PM added.
Australian PM further said, "In a short period of time, we both depend on free and open access to sea lanes in the Indopacific for our trade and for our economic well-being. And we share an unwavering commitment to upholding the rules-based international order and ensuring the Indopacific is open, inclusive and prosperous."
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