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Modi in Australia: Albanese Announces Migration Deal With India

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, shakes hands with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese following a joint press conference at Admiralty House in Sydney, Australia, Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Modi is the only leader of the so-called Quad nations to continue with his scheduled visit to Australia after U.S. President Joe Biden pulled out of a planned meeting of the group in Sydney to return to Washington to focus on debt limit talks. (Dean Lewins/Pool Photo via AP)

India and Australia have announced a migration deal as they aim to strengthen their economic cooperation.

The announcement came after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney on Wednesday.

The deal aims to “promote the two-way mobility of students, graduates, academic researchers and business people”.

They also discussed regional security amid rising tensions in the region.

India and Australia are part of the four-member Quad group, which also includes Japan and the US.

A scheduled meeting of the group in Sydney was cancelled last week after US President Joe Biden had to return to Washington for debt ceiling talks.

Mr Modi, however, continued his planned visit to Sydney after attending the G7 summit in Japan and travelling to Papua New Guinea.

This is Mr Modi’s first visit to Australia since 2014, and comes two months after Mr Albanese visited India in March.

Negotiations for the migration agreement had been going on for a couple of years. Australia already has a significant number of people who have migrated from India – census data shows that of more than a million people who moved to Australia since 2016, almost a quarter were from India.

According to a statement, the finalised migration agreement will also lead to the creation of a new scheme called MATES (Mobility Arrangement for Talented Early Professionals Scheme), which has been “specifically created for India”.

On Tuesday, the Indian prime minister said the two countries had also discussed increasing cooperation on mining and critical minerals and made progress in establishing an Australia-India Green Hydrogen Taskforce.

India and Australia are also working towards a comprehensive economic cooperation deal for which negotiations began more than a decade ago.

On Tuesday, thousands of people from the country’s Indian diaspora had turned up at one of Sydney’s biggest indoor stadiums, where Mr Modi was speaking at a rally.

“The last time I saw someone on this stage was Bruce Springsteen and he did not get the welcome that Prime Minister Modi has got,” Mr Albanese said at the event.

Mr Modi called the Indian community in Australia “a living bridge” between the two countries.

“The relationship between India and Australia is based on mutual trust and respect,” he said.