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Indian PM to visit Australia despite Quad cancellation

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has returned to Australia after three days of meetings with world leaders in Japan.

Mr Albanese met US President Joe Biden for one-on-one talks as well as chairing a Quad leaders forum alongside the Indian and Japanese prime ministers after a scheduled original summit in Sydney was cancelled.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is still travelling to Australia and will land in Sydney on Monday for his first state visit since 2014.

He will hold talks with Mr Albanese as well as meet local Indian businesses in western Sydney for the unveiling of a foundation stone at the entrance to “Little India” at Harris Park.

The talks will focus on clean energy, the transition to net zero carbon emissions, defence co-operation, and growing bilateral investment.

Australia and India shared a commitment to a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific, Mr Albanese said.

“As friends and partners, the relationship between our countries has never been closer,” the prime minister said.

Mr Albanese plans to visit India in September for a meeting of G20 leaders in New Delhi.

In Japan, the Quad leaders issued a statement of principles on clean energy supply chains in the region and a boost to the Indo-Pacific’s transition to renewables.

China’s increasing militarisation in the Indo-Pacific didn’t escape the attention of G7 leaders, who chastised Beijing for using economic coercion and adding to regional instability.

Mr Albanese said Australia had always raised those concerns with China.

“What we need to do is to make sure that we work in a way that enhances the peace, security and stability in the region,” he said before heading back to Australia on Sunday.

“We very clearly support the status quo when it comes to the Taiwan Strait and that is Australia’s position.

“(But) people were very positive about the fact that Australia’s relations have improved and that we have dialogue (with Beijing)”.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham said the Quad remained an important forum, bringing together four democratic, maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific to promote common values “about the type of region we wish to see”.

“It’s an ability to co-operate across a range of different spheres in relation to supporting a rules-based order that has enabled prosperity and lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

Mr Albanese also used his trip to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other European Union leaders to discuss free-trade agreement negotiations.

“This will be a very significant agreement for Australia,” Mr Albanese said.

The prime minister hopes there will be more progress by the time he attends a meeting of NATO in July.

– AAP

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