Quad meet cancelled, PM Modi to go ahead with Australia visit

    WITH US President Joe Biden cancelling his trip to Australia due to the crucial debt-ceiling talks in Washington, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that the Quad leaders’ summit would not take place in Sydney. However, there is a possibility of the Quad leaders meeting in Hiroshima, on the margins of the G7 summit.

    But Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has lined up bilateral engagements including a meeting with Albanese, top business CEOs and the Indian diaspora in Sydney, will continue with his scheduled trip to Australia, sources said in New Delhi.

    Early Wednesday morning, Biden announced that he would postpone the Australia leg of his Asia trip, along with that of Papua New Guinea, given the uncertainty and intense negotiations with the opposition Republican party to ensure that America does not default on its debt for the first time in history.

    “The Quad leaders’ meeting will not be going ahead in Sydney next week,” Albanese then said in Tweed Heads, a town in New South Wales. He said the Quad leaders — Australia, the US, India and Japan – would now meet at the G7 Summit in Hiroshima this weekend.

    “We, though, will be having that discussion between Quad leaders in Japan. I thank Prime Minister (Fumio) Kishida for his invitation for me to attend the G7 and it is appropriate that we talk. The Quad is an important body and we want to make sure that it occurs at the leadership level and we’ll be having that discussion over the weekend,” Albanese said.

    “All four leaders — President Biden, Prime Minister Kishida, Prime Minister Modi and myself — will be at the G7, held in Hiroshima on Saturday and Sunday. We are attempting to get together over that period of time (and) I’ll have a bilateral discussion with President Biden,” he said. “At this stage, we haven’t got a time locked in for that arrangement,” he said.

    He also said that Modi would still travel to Australia next week.

    “Prime Minister Modi will be here next week for a bilateral meeting with myself,” Albanese told ABC Radio in Brisbane. Modi will also have business meetings and will hold a very public event at Homebush, at the Olympic Park in Sydney, he said.

    “He will also be engaging with Australian-India business relations… I look forward to welcoming him to Sydney,” Albanese said.

    Sources in Delhi said Modi’s engagements in Australia next week will remain unchanged, barring the Quad summit in Sydney.

    The Ministry of External Affairs had announced Modi’s three-nation tour beginning Friday that included his visit to Australia from May 22 to 24.

    In the first leg of his trip, Modi will visit Hiroshima from May 19 to 21 for the G7 annual summit. From Japan, he will travel to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea where he will co-host the third summit of the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) on May 22 with Prime Minister James Marape.

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