A trip to Australia was already in Mr Modi’s schedule next year for the 2023 Quad Summit that will be hosted by Mr Albanese. The March visit – which will include a business delegation – means Mr Albanese will go to India twice; he was already set to attend the next G20 Summit in India next year.
The visits reflect the growing importance of India as both a strategic and economic partner and they may also help progress trade negotiations. Mr Albanese said both countries regarded the finalisation of CECA as “very important for expanding economic relations”.
When the draft agreement was announced, the two countries set an ambitious goal of getting a final deal by the end of this year. This appears unlikely but the Albanese government has made clear it is as committed to bolstering ties with India as was the previous government.
There will be one major change: Australia’s High Commissioner to India, the former NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’ Farrell, will finish up early next year, meaning it will be Labor’s pick who will be on the ground when Mr Albanese visits in March.