This week, the Australian foreign minister, Penny Wong, will go to India to improve bilateral relations and work towards a peaceful and stable Indo-Pacific region. This is a step towards more high-level meetings between the two countries.
Wong is expected to take part in both the G20 foreign ministers meeting in New Delhi on March 1 and 2, as well as the annual geopolitics conference, called the Raisina Dialogue, which is co-hosted by the external affairs ministry.
This will be Wong’s first trip to India since he became foreign minister last year. “Australia strongly supports India’s G20 presidency and welcomes India’s ambitious, action-oriented G20 agenda under the theme ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future,'” Wong said in a statement Monday when she announced her visit.
She said, in reference to her participation in the G20 foreign ministers meeting, “I look forward to working with my counterparts on how we can address current international challenges, such as strengthening the multilateral system, making sure there is enough food and energy, and helping people in need and responding to disasters.”
After Wong’s trip, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who should be in India by the second week of March, Trade Minister Don Farrell, and Resources Minister Madeleine King will all go there.
People who know about the situation say that the upcoming visits by the Australian leaders will focus on regional security, cooperation on important minerals, and making the interim trade deal India and Australia signed last year into a full free trade agreement. People say that India is almost ready to announce an investment in Australia’s critical minerals sector to speed up the development of renewable energy and electric vehicles.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to go to Australia later this year to join the leaders of Australia, Japan, and the US at the Quad leaders’ summit.
Wong will go to India after she goes to Malaysia, where she will reaffirm the priorities that Australia and Malaysia have in common as part of a bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership.
She said that her meetings in Malaysia will focus on “developing our important trade and economic ties, working together on defence and regional security, and strengthening the close ties between our peoples.”