Aus PM to be 1st foreign leader to visit India in 2020

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will be the first foreign leader to visit India in 2020, followed by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Morrison will visit New Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai in the third week of January.

Apart from meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and calling on President Ram Nath Kovind, he will also be the chief guest at the 5th edition of the Raisina Dialogue— the flagship geo-political and geo-strategic conference of India.

He will deliver the keynote address at the conference, which is being held.

Bolsononaro will be the chief guest at the Republic Day ceremony in New Delhi on January 26.

Morrisson and Modi are likely to reaffirm commitments of India and Australia for a free, open, transparent and inclusive Indo-Pacific region for promoting peace, security, stability and prosperity, thus sending out a tacit message against the hegemonic aspirations of China.

Sources in New Delhi said that with strategic and economic interests of India and Australia converging, opportunities were opening up for both countries for working together bilaterally, regionally and multilaterally.

The two sides will discuss ways to step up engagement in defence and security fields, particularly focusing maritime security, added the sources.

Modi and Morrisson will also discuss the possibility of inking a bilateral agreement, which would set the framework for the armies, navies and air-forces of India and Australia sharing military logistics.

India already signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the United States in August 2016.

A similar agreement between India and Japan was ready to be signed during Modi's annual summit with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Guwahati earlier this month.

It could not be inked, as the summit itself was postponed in view of the widespread protests against the new citizenship law.

Bolsonaro will visit New Delhi with a large business delegation.

Modi is likely to use the opportunity to seek more investment from Brazil to India, particularly in areas of agricultural equipment, animal husbandry, post-harvest technologies and bio-fuels.

Prime Minister and Brazilian president will also discuss ways to step up cooperation in other areas, including space and defence sectors, sources told DH in New Delhi.

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