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SOURCE: PTI

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese on Monday said he is “honoured” to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi here and underlined that the two countries share a commitment to a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.

Prime Minister Albanese also said that he looks forward to celebrating Australia’s vibrant Indian community with Prime Minister Modi in Sydney on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Modi will visit Australia from May 22-24 as a guest of the Australian Government.

“I am honoured to host Prime Minister Modi for an official visit to Australia, after receiving an extremely warm welcome in India earlier this year,” Mr Albanese said in a statement.

“Australia and India share a commitment to a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Together we have an important role to play in supporting this vision,” he said, amidst China’s aggressive behaviour in the region as well as its efforts to expand its influence.

“As friends and partners, the relationship between our countries has never been closer. I look forward to celebrating Australia’s vibrant Indian community with Prime Minister Modi in Sydney.” Prime Minister Modi has also said that he was looking forward to his meeting with Albanese on May 24.

“I look forward to our bilateral meeting, which will be an opportunity to take stock of our bilateral ties and follow up on our first India-Australia Annual Summit held in New Delhi in March this year,” Modi said in his departure statement in New Delhi on May 19.

“Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Australia builds on the Australia-India Annual Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi in March and discussions at the G7 Summit and Quad Leaders’ meeting in Hiroshima over the weekend,” the Australian government said in a statement.

“At their bilateral meeting, the leaders will discuss trade and investment, including efforts to boost trade between the two countries through a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, and work to strengthen people-to-people links, renewable energy, and defence and security cooperation,” it said.

Prime Minister Modi will also meet Australian business leaders to drive Australia’s growing trade and investment relationship with India and take forward opportunities from the Australia-India CEO Forum held in Mumbai in March.

Harris Park, a suburb of Greater Western Sydney will be also known as ‘Little India’. This will be announced during PM Modi’s community event, sources said ahead of the prime minister’s visit.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 census, 619,164 people in Australia declared that they were of ethnic Indian ancestry. This comprises 2.8 per cent of the Australian population. Among those, 592,000 were born in India.

Prime Minister Modi last visited Australia in 2014.

Meanwhile, Mr Albanese also said he looks forward to visiting India in September for the G20 Leaders’ Summit in New Delhi, the world’s premier forum for economic cooperation.

The Indo-Pacific is a biogeographic region, comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea.

The US, India and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China’s rising military manoeuvring in the region, vital to global trade.

China claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.