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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives in Australia for talks



India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to receive a warm and colourful reception today after arriving Australia for an official visit as both countries seek to build closer ties.

He will hold talks on defence, trade, renewable energy and business with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese over the next two days.

Modi and Albanese will also attend a community event at Sydney Olympic Park tonight, with more than 20,000 members of the Australian Indian community expected to attend.

READ MORE: US and Papua New Guinea sign defence pact as Washington, Beijing vie for influence in the Pacific

Modi's visit comes after the scheduled Quad meeting in Sydney this week of leaders from the US, Australia, Japan and India was cancelled after President Joe Biden pulled out to focus on American national debt issues.

Instead the Quad leaders met on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Japan on the weekend.

India is the world's largest democracy and is forecast to surpass China as the world's most populous nation.

The Indian economy is also set to become one of the world's biggest.

Global security expert Greg Barton told Today this morning Modi's visit to Australia showed India was willing to engage with the world.

"In the past, it's often fallen back on being neutral for example buying arms from Russia, not taking sides and things like Ukraine.

"Now that's changing … Modi is recognising that India has to step up and be a global partner, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region."

Albanese said ahead of Modi's visit relations between Australia and India had never been closer.

READ MORE: Anthony Albanese backs G7 leaders on calling out Chinese ambitions

"Australia and India share a commitment to a stable, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. Together we have an important role to play in supporting this vision.

"As friends and partners, the relationship between our countries has never been closer."

Modi last visited Australia in 2014.

In other news, Foreign Minister Penny Wong has indicated Albanese will not travel to China unless continued progress is made on the trade and consular front.

The last prime minister to visit Beijing was Malcolm Turnbull in 2016.

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