From temples to trade: India, Australia PMs hold bilateral talks

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the incidents of vandalism of temples in Australia during the course of wide-ranging bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese. 

Indian PM Modi (right) and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese (left) leading their respective delegations during the bilateral session. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@PMOIndia

Other topics included boosting the ties between the two countries in areas of renewable energy, trade and defence, an official statement read.

"Our relationship is based on mutual trust and respect. The Indian community in Australia is a living bridge between our two countries," PM Modi said in a joint press statement.

Modi headed home to India after concluding a three-nation visit to Japan, Papua New Guinea and Australia.

"PM Anthony Albanese and I have in the past discussed the issue of attacks on temples in Australia and activities of separatist elements. We discussed the matter today also," PM Modi said.

He said that the Australian PM had assured him of strict action against those indulging in such vandalism.

"We will not accept any elements that harm the friendly and warm ties between the India-Australia relationship by their action or thoughts. PM Albanese assured me once again today that he will take strict actions against such elements in the future also," he said.

In March, a prominent Hindu temple in Brisbane, Shree Laxmi Narayan Temple, was attacked by pro-Khalistan supporters. This was the fourth incident of vandalism against Hindu temples in two months in Australia.

On January 16, Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple in Australia's Carrum Downs was vandalised with anti-Hindu graffiti.

On January 12, the BAPS Swaminarayan Mandir in Australia's Mill Park was smeared with anti-India and anti-Hindu graffiti. 

Ahead of the talks, PM Modi was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour at the Admiralty House in Sydney. He also interacted with Australian CEOs at a business roundtable in Sydney. The PM highlighted the economic reforms and policy measures undertaken to enhance 'Ease of Doing Business' in the country.

PM Modi also met the Australian Opposition Leader Peter Dutton and Governor General David Hurley on te final day of this trip.