Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, says his country is the answer to Australia’s search for new opportunities.
At Mr Modi’s formal address to the Australian parliament on Tuesday, both he and Australian PM Tony Abbott foreshadowed increasing co-operation between the two countries, particularly on defence and energy.
“There are few countries in the world where we see so much synergy as we do in Australia,” Mr Modi told parliament.
“India is a nation of more than a billion seeking development. Australia a developed country of a few million people and vast resources.
“I see Australia as a major partner in every area of our national priority, providing skills and education to our youth, a roof over every head and electricity in every household … energy that does not cause our glaciers to melt, clean coal and gas, renewable energy and fuel for nuclear power … India will be the answer to your search for new economic opportunities.
“The economic climate in India has changed. I believe it will be a lot easier to convert opportunities into concrete outcomes.”
Speaking ahead of Mr Modi’s address, Mr Abbott noted that India was the emerging Asian superpower and said Australia would expand trade relations with the world’s largest democracy with a new comprehensive partnership.
“By the end of next year we will have a free trade deal with what is potentially the world’s largest market. And I want to make this declaration here in this parliament: there are two can-do PMs in this chamber today and we will make it happen,” Mr Abbott said.
“This is our moment – Narendra and I (are) determined to absolutely make the most of it.”
The recently elected Indian prime minister also made light of Mr Abbott’s now infamous ‘shirtfront’ threat to Vladimir Putin.
“[I am] the third head of government you are listening to this week. I do not know how you are doing this. Maybe this is PM Abbott’s way of shirtfronting you,” Mr Modi joked.
Narendra Modi has been in Australia for the Brisbane G20 summit held at the weekend.
IMAGE: India’s Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott walk together as they leave the House of Representatives at Parliament House on November 18, 2014 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Rick Rycroft- Pool/Getty Images)