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Albanian flags agreements with India on defense and trade


Anthony Albanese is set to sign deals with India to boost defense, economic and cultural ties.

The prime minister addressed the media in New Delhi on Friday, noting that an expanded trade deal could be reached between the countries by the end of the year.

He revealed that he hoped to leave the Asian nation having signed three “important agreements” following talks with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi.

The pair will meet for their annual leaders’ summit in New Delhi on Friday, following their triumphant lap of honor ahead of the fourth Border-Gavaskar cricket test in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

Mr. Albanese had previously toured a new aircraft carrier INS Vikrant, the first vessel of its kind built in India, before heralding a new national security deal.

And clean energy will be at the center of the economic pact, the prime minister citing Australia’s solar muscle playing a key role in India’s decarbonisation drive.

India has set ambitious targets of 50 percent renewable energy and 30 percent electric vehicle use by 2030.

“There are tremendous opportunities that we have in solar power,” he told reporters.

“Yesterday I spoke here with a major Indian company, which is looking for billions of dollars of investment in Australia, including making solar panels… (that is) something we want to promote.”

A free trade agreement between the countries went into effect in January, but it has already paid off, with more than $2.5 billion worth of Australian goods making its way to India.

Albanese said it paved the way for an expanded deal with progress toward one moving forward “very quickly.”

“I would like to see a comprehensive agreement agreed in principle at least by the end of this year,” Albanese told reporters.

“I want to thank the companies… that have also traveled here. That’s sending a big, big message to India that we think India matters.”

Later this year, Australia will host Exercise Malabar for the first time and India will make its maiden participation in Australia’s Exercise Talisman Saber.

The cultural deal that is expected to be signed will bring Bollywood and the Australian film industries closer together.

“For me, movies are food for the soul…they tell stories, they help us feel, and they reflect who we are and where we come from,” Albanese said.

“I look forward to seeing more Indian and Australian co-productions on our screens that showcase the best of our cultures, landscapes and people.”

The prime minister will lay a wreath at the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi, whom he called a “giant of the 20th century.”

Mr. Albanese will also address the Indian Institute of Technology on opportunities to strengthen links with higher education and will hold a question and answer session with students.

The institute has partnerships with several Australian universities.