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Will Modi raise Hindu temples’ vandalism issue with Albanese in Sydney? This is what India foreign secretary said

Several cases of Khalistani extremism and brawls between Khalistani activists and pro-India demonstrators and attacks on temples have recently come to the fore in several parts of Australia.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi with Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese at G20 summit, in Bali, Indonesia on November 16, 2022. (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

While all eyes are set on the bilateral talks between Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese in Sydney on Wednesday (24) as the Indian diaspora in Australia are hoping that the Indian leader would raise the recent cases of vandalism of Hindu temples in the island-nation, India’s foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra on Monday (22) refrained from divulging details about the issue.

“It is not correct for me to prejudge what would be discussed between PM Modi and PM Albanese,” Kwatra said when asked if Modi and Albanese could discuss Khalistani extremism which has turned into a major threat to the Indian community in Australia, in their upcoming bilateral talks.

Kwatra made the above remarks while addressing a special media briefing on Modi’s visit to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia which kicked off on May 19.

Several cases of Khalistani extremism and brawls between Khalistani activists and pro-India demonstrators have recently come to the fore in several parts of Australia. A number of Hindu temples were also attacked in major Australian cities such as Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney over the past few months.

A question was raised before the foreign secretary regarding the same, reacting to which, he said, “I would only say that all issues of bilateral engagements including the issues of attaining harmony in our society and the safety and security of our two societies will be discussed.”

Kwatra also said that Albanese will host a dinner for Modi, who will meet several officials during his stay in Sydney until Wednesday (24).

“Prime minister will be in Sydney till Wednesday evening during this period. This is just to give you a bit of an outline of what lies ahead of the prime minister’s visit to Australia in Sydney. He will hold bilateral meetings with the honorable prime minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, also call on governor general David Hurley and meeting with leader of the opposition Peter Dutton,” Kwatra said.

He also said, “Prime minister Albanese will also host a dinner for Prime Minister and during his upcoming two days of stay, honourable prime minister will meet leading CEOs and address the Indian community.”

“Here we will share more detailed information on his various engagements during his stay in Sydney over the course of a couple of days,” the foreign secretary added.

At their bilateral meeting, Modi and Albanese 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, said an official statement released by the Australian government.

PM 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, according to the statement.

During the visit, the Prime Ministers will attend a community event in Sydney to celebrate Australia’s dynamic and diverse Indian diaspora, a core part of our multicultural community, the statement added.

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

(With ANI inputs)

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