...By Larry John for TDPel Media.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Australia on Monday as part of his Asia-Pacific tour, aiming to enhance economic ties by leveraging the country’s rapidly growing diaspora.
With a focus on countering China’s increasing influence, Modi’s visit to Sydney marked the final stop of his tour.
Diaspora as a Crucial Bridge in India-Australia Bilateral Relations
Australia is home to the second-largest Indian diaspora community, with approximately 673,000 Indian-born citizens residing in the country of 26 million.
Recognizing the diaspora’s significance, Jodi McKay, the national chair of the Australia India Business Council, emphasized that it serves as a vital bridge in the bilateral business relationship between India and Australia.
Expanding Economic Cooperation and Trade
Two-way trade between India and Australia reached a value of Aus$46.5 billion (US$31 billion) in the previous year, a figure expected to rise following the implementation of a free-trade agreement in December.
With ties expanding beyond resources, both countries aim to sign a more comprehensive economic pact in the near future, encompassing sectors such as renewable energy and technology.
Modi’s Visit in the Absence of US President Biden
Due to US President Joe Biden’s cancellation of a planned summit in Australia, Prime Minister Modi has assumed the spotlight in Sydney.
As he faces general elections in his home country next year, Modi is anticipated to be welcomed by 18,000 people at an event organized by the India-Australia Diaspora Foundation.
Countering China’s Influence and Strengthening Regional Cooperation
Modi’s visit to Australia aligns with efforts to counter China’s growing diplomatic, financial, and military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.
In a recent Quad summit in Japan, attended by the leaders of the United States, Japan, and Australia, the participants aimed to address Beijing’s assertiveness.
Modi’s arrival in Australia followed his historic summit with 14 South Pacific states in Papua New Guinea, emphasizing India’s support for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific and respect for the sovereignty of all nations.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia seeks to strengthen economic ties, leverage the Indian diaspora, and assert India’s regional power in the face of China’s growing influence.
The trip also provides an opportunity to expand cooperation beyond traditional sectors and foster a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific region.