Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison held a virtual meeting today, paving for the establishment of a mechanism for India and Australia to hold annual summits for the review of their bilateral relationship. In his remarks at the virtual summit, Scott Morrison begun by talking about Indo Pacific and the Russia-Ukraine war and said that our region is facing increasing change and much pressure. 

Talking about the Ukraine situation, he said that the Quad summit gave the leaders an opportunity to discuss Russia’s unlawful invasion of Ukraine but also it also gave the opportunity to discuss the implications and consequences of that event on Indo-Pacific and the issues faced by this region. 

PM Modi said that the last virtual summit gave India and Australia’s relationship the form of a comprehensive strategic partnership and he’s happy that the two nations are now establishing the mechanism of an annual summit.

He added that the mechanism of an annual summit will prepare a structural system for regular review of their relationship, which has seen remarkable growth in recent years, in the sectors of Trade & investment, defence & security, education & innovation, science & technology. 

PM Modi further thanked Scott Morrison for returning the Indian antiquities. Earlier in the day, Australia repatriated 29 Indian antiquities, including hundreds of years old artefacts and photos illegally taken out of Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh & other states. 

On the India-Australia virtual summit, Foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the two leaders discussed Ukraine & China. On the Ukraine issue, it was clear that the two sides had referred to the Quad summit, in which the leaders had a fairly clear perspective that the situation in Ukraine should not impact on the Indo-Pacific. Australian PM Morrison gave a detailed perspective of how he views China and its actions in the region and spoke in particular about the South China Sea.

Shringla revealed that PM Modi referred to LAC in Ladakh and the incidents of the previous year, wherein he emphasised that peace and tranquillity in the border area was an essential prerequisite for normalisation of relations with China.

The two PMs further agreed that they would be increasing cooperation between India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund & Australia’s Pension and Sovereign Fund. India will offer the same tax benefits for Australia’s Pension and Sovereign Fund in India as is given in Australia. Shringla added that India is willing to match the tax benefits that Australia gives to its Sovereign & Pension Funds and once they invest in India, they’ll get similar benefits.