Morrison calls Modi ‘great friend’, to work on new initiatives

By Our Reporter
Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington. Photo: Twitter @OfficialAiNews

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described his meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as one where “we were able to agree on some important new initiatives”. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Quad meeting in Washington, where Morrison will take part in the first-ever in-person leaders meeting of the Quad comprising US President Joe Biden, Modi and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday.

Describing Modi as a “dear friend and great friend of Australia”, the Prime Minister said, “At our meeting today, we agreed to go forward with a low emissions technology partnership, a partnership that will focus on hydrogen development, ultra low cost solar programs, to support their energy transition. One of the key points we continue to make about addressing climate change is to ensure that we get the technology transfer from developed to developing economies.

“If we want to address climate change, then we need to address the change that is necessary in developing economies, so they can grow their economies, build their industries, make the things the world needs. And, to do that, you need an energy economy that supports those objectives. And so, we’ll work together closely with our good friends in India, to work with the comparative advantages that Australia has, particularly in the area of hydrogen, and working together with their manufacturing capabilities so they can realise that in their own country,” the Prime Minister said in his media statement.

In addition to that, Morrison said he had a very good discussion on defence partnerships. “That was particularly progressed at the most recent 2+2 meeting. It was a very positive discussion on critical minerals supply chains. I’ll have a bit more to say about that tomorrow when we meet further with the Quad.”

He said ministers of both countries will be meeting in New Delhi next week. “And we have both, Prime Minister Modi and I, tasked our teams to be ambitious when they sit down next week to look at our trade opportunities, particularly in the area of digital trade arrangements. And, so, it was a very wide-ranging meeting.”

“Australia is engaged in partnerships with many countries, and we see the Quad and the trilateral partnership of AUKUS as being completely complementary, and that’s the discussion that Narendra Modi and I have just had”
— Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Morrison also had the opportunity to discuss the recent announcement on the AUKUS agreement and the program to put in place a nuclear-powered fleet of submarines. “Keen interest in that from our partners in India, and well received. And looking forward to see how that continues to progress. Of course, I spoke to Prime Minister Modi the night before we made the announcement in Australia last week.”

Friday’s Quad meeting will focus on the issues of clean energy and critical minerals, Morrison said. “It’ll deal with how are we going to work together, sitting down with leaders, friends working together for peace and stability in our region, friends working together to secure the health and economic recovery from COVID-19, friends working together to develop new clean energy technology partnerships, stronger action on climate change, and ensuring that we continue to meet and beat the commitments that we’ve set for ourselves. Friends working together to secure our future, and a future for the Indo-Pacific.”

The Quad brings together India, Japan, Australia and the United States. As the world faces great challenges, new partnerships amongst old friends continue to be forged, Morrison said, adding, “And the Quad partnership is very much of that order – a positive partnership seeking to make strong contributions on the big issues that make a big difference in our region.

“Australia is engaged in partnerships with many countries, and we see the Quad and the trilateral partnership of AUKUS as being completely complementary, and that’s the discussion that Narendra Modi and I have just had. He certainly sees it in that way, as does Yoshi Suga, when I spoke to him last week,” the Prime Minister said.

The Quad partners understand the need for positive contributions to regional stability and the AUKUS partnership is all about making that sort of contribution. Everybody gains from a stable Indo-Pacific, everybody gains, including whether it’s in China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, we all benefit from a stable Indo-Pacific, he further added.

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