Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Australia next week for top level political meetings and events with the Indian diaspora, in spite of the last-minute cancellation of the Sydney Quad summit following a decision by US President Joe Biden to call off his trip.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese confirmed the Indian leader would continue with his planned visit in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Commission on Wednesday afternoon.
Modi’s schedule will include bilateral talks with Albanese, as well as meetings with the business community and a “very public rally at Sydney’s Homebush Arena,” the prime minister said.
“You can’t have a Quad leaders meeting when there are only three out of the four there,” Albanese told the ABC, restating his disappointment that Biden had decided to cancel his visit.
Australia was originally expecting to host a summit of the Quad partnership in Sydney on May 24, culminating with a meeting at the city’s iconic Opera House.
Prior to the meeting, Biden was expected to address Australia’s parliament in Canberra, the first US leader to do so since 2014.
However Albanese announced on Thursday that due to the negotiations over the US debt ceiling, Biden had decided to cancel his trip and instead return to Washington after the Group of Seven talks in Japan over the weekend.
Subsequently, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida decided to call off his visit as well.
The four leaders of the Quad will instead meet on the sidelines of the G-7 meetings in Japan.
Modi’s visit comes as Australia is attempting to strengthen its diplomatic and economic ties with India to offset growing strategic competition between the US and China, Canberra’s largest trading partner.
Australia is currently negotiating the second stage of a free trade agreement with India, while a growing diaspora is helping bolster the country’s valuable tertiary education sector.