Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will embark on his three day India visit next month on 9th-11th March. He will hold important bilateral talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the capital city New Delhi.
A source close to the preparations for the visit told The Australia Today, “First two days are scheduled for some intense negotiations and concerns to be resolved from both sides.”
During the visit, PM Albanese will also travel to Ahmedabad and watch India-Australia cricket Test match at the Narendra Modi Stadium.
This visit is expected to see Australia becoming India’s most reliable supplier of critical and rare-earth minerals. However, spin friendly Indian pitch will start testing Australian delegation when issues around defence, security and cyber security ties will be scrutinised under the growing anti-India rhetoric in Australia by US and Canada based Khalistan players.
The Australia Today can reveal that the officials responsible for schedule doesn’t want PM Albanese to watch Test match on the third day because of Australia losing last two games.
This is PM Albanese’s first India visit to India after taking charge of the country in May 2022.
We are given to understand a large entourage of officials, business-persons and media will accompany PM Albanese on this trip.
Business leader Sheba Nandkeolyar is CEO of MultiConnexions Group and former National Chair of Australia India Business Council.
Sheba told The Australia Today that she has a clear wish list, “My wish list would be more flexible negotiations for a win win outcome for both countries.”
“India is keen to ensure greater flexibility in issuing visas for skilled migrant and critical skill shortage talent from India. Australia will look at greater access in India for its agricultural industry,”added Ms Nandkeolyar
On Saturday, the PM Albanese met with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar.
He was at his charming best teasing Indian Minister by saying, “Can I welcome you, very much, back to Australia. You’re a regular visitor here.”
“I am looking forward to being in India in just a few weeks’ time now for the bilateral visit. And I thank Prime Minister Modi for the invitation,”said PM Albanese.
“Our relationship goes from strength to strength…our economic relationship is important. I think we have complementary economies. I look forward to strengthening that as well, as well as on security issues,” he added.
Ms Nandkeolyar says, “The FTA would also help Australian companies look at India as a reliable partner in many industries where it is doing more business with other Asian countries such as – automobiles, textiles, footwear, leather products, gems & jewellery amongst others.”
A source close to the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) negotiations told The Australia Today Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is keen to draw definitive roadmap for concluding the talks.
Source said that the Minister for Trade and Tourism Don Farrell is aiming at concluding the CECA before the end of 2023.
Both countries signed and implemented the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) in 2022. ECTA came into affect on 29 December last year (2022) and 96 per cent of goods and services sent from India to Australia without any tariffs.