New Delhi, May 21
Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Labour leader Anthony Albanese, who is tipped to be the next Prime Minister of Australia, Australian High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell pointed out that during the campaign he had committed to deepen economic, strategic and people-to-people links with India.
“Albanese is no stranger to India having travelled the country as a backpacker in 1991 and led a parliamentary delegation in 2018,’’ said O’Farrell.
PM Modi who had built a strong personal relationship with current Australian PM Scott Morrison, who even cooked curries to demonstrate his affinity to India, said with the election of a new leader, “I look forward to working towards further strengthening our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and for shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific region.’’
The Quad is also a high priority for Labor and Albanese said if he wins Saturday’s General Election, he will travel to Tokyo for a meeting of the Quad group of the US, Japan and India, scheduled three days later. Labour Party’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong has also expressed similar sentiments at foreign policy debates in the run-up to the elections.
“The first thing I will be doing is meeting with our allies... Meeting with President Biden, meeting with Prime Minister Kishida, meeting with Narendra Modi next week - that is my priority,” he had said at the National Press Club in Canberra. Albanese had said Australia’s alliance with the US, regional relationships and multilateral groups like the Quad would be the foreign policy pillars of a Labor government.
Albanese and Wong would need to be sworn into office by Monday to travel to Tokyo for Tuesday’s meeting of the Quad security grouping.
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