Anthony Albanese has been celebrated alongside Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a lavish ceremony, with the Australian leader describing the moment as one of the highlights of his life.
The blockbuster rally was held in front of a monstrous 132,000-strong crowd at Ahmedabad Stadium ahead of the fourth Test cricket between Australia and India.
The leaders’ arrival at the ground was somewhat delayed, but once the Indian Prime Minister entered his own stadium, chants of ‘Modi, Modi, Modi’ echoed across the ground as they would for cricket icon Virat Kohli.
Australian captain Steve Smith and Indian skipper Rohit Sharma met the leaders on stage, four arms raised.
Mr Albanese then joined Mr Modi to do a lap of honor around the stadium in a hovercraft car with giant bats and stumps on top, waving to the elated fans in the crowd.
The two leaders are working on a lucrative free trade deal that would bring huge economic benefits to major companies in both countries.
But it comes at a time when most Aussies are grappling with cost-of-living pressures and amid rising inflation, now at 7.8 percent.
Anthony Albanese says he is honored by the effort his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi put into his visit, which included a chariot ride in front of a huge cricket-loving crowd (pictured)
To combat spiraling prices, the Reserve Bank of Australia raised cash rates on Tuesday for the 10th consecutive month to 3.6 percent, with rates now rising at their most dramatic pace since 1988 and 1989.
Due to the rapid increases, monthly variable mortgage repayments have increased by a whopping 46 percent in just 10 months.
To make matters worse, energy bills are also skyrocketing.
Energy Australia, which has 2.4 million electricity and gas customers, increased its variable contracts by 14.1 percent this month, increasing annual bills by hundreds of dollars.
Contracts are usually reviewed at the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, in line with government industry price revisions, but competitor Origin made an increase in January and Energy Australia followed suit.
Early in Mr Albanese’s premiership, he was nicknamed ‘Air-bus Albo’ for jet-setting to a number of overseas assignments, including visits to Japan for a Quad meeting, war-torn Ukraine, France and London for the funeral of the queen. others.
The two prime ministers took a lap of honor before the match in a chariot (pictured) in a stadium complete with hundreds of posters and billboards with pictures of them both
Pictured is Mr Albanese greeting Australian cricket captain Steve Smith on the first day of the Fourth Test in Ahmedabad
He appeared to be in high spirits as he landed in India on Wednesday for three days of high-level talks and was greeted by cheering crowds of dancers and performers.
Some threw flower petals over him to celebrate the Holi festival, before showing the prime minister the bedroom and study where Gandhi worked during India’s independence movement.
He later gave a speech about his experience in India during his first trip in 1991.
“We went through all possible forms of transportation over a period of six weeks and it brought me a love of Indian culture and an understanding of the way Indian people embrace and welcome you to this beautiful country,” said the prime minister.
‘If you want to understand a country, don’t go in a car with a motorcade, but in a train with the population and buy a ticket at the box office.’
After the ceremony at the cricket, he was asked if his experience backpacking in India was much different this time.
“It’s definitely (different) – it’s a highlight of my life to be here today, and India and Australia have a great friendship,” Albanese told reporters.
The Prime Minister sang the national anthem arm in arm with captain Smith and the rest of the Australian team and stayed until the start of the game.
The leaders exited the game after seven overs.
Mr. Albanese is on his way to Mumbai, where he will participate in a roundtable discussion with Australian and Indian chief executives, promote Australian products at an expo and discuss how to enhance collaboration with Bollywood in filmmaking.
He made the trip with a large Australian business delegation to further strengthen trade relations.
“It is very important that we strengthen those ties even further. By the end of this year, I look forward to an improvement in the economic relationship between Australia and India,” he said.
Speaking of the cricket, Mr Albanese (pictured, with Prime Minister Modi) said the two countries enjoyed a long and proud relationship and celebrated 75 years of Test cricket this year
About 132,000 visited the stadium for the event
Work is underway to broaden the current economic cooperation and trade agreement between Australia and India to include issues such as cooperation, sustainable development, digital trade and government procurement, as well as additional goods and services.
Another important reason for the visit is that Mr. Albanese is announcing that Indians will have their undergraduate degrees, postgraduate qualifications, diplomas and certificates of higher secondary school recognized in Australia.
It is hoped that the move will be a major boost to Australia’s healthcare system in particular, with the potential for a wave of new doctors and nurses to alleviate staffing shortages.
The India Education Qualifications Recognition Mechanism means Australians will also have their qualifications recognized in India as part of a mutual agreement between the Commonwealth’s two cricket-loving democracies.
The Australian Government announcement was made as Deakin University established the first university-approved campus abroad.
Albanian will later visit the Western Naval Command, which is responsible for Indian forces in the Arabian Sea, and meet defense personnel who have participated in exercises in Australia.
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham on Thursday welcomed Mr Albanese’s comments that relations between the nations are at an all-time high.
India hosting the G20 summit in 2023 would also be key in advocating for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he added.