Prime Minister Narendra Modi, skilled practitioner of selfies, had a gotcha moment while riding the Delhi metro with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. The leaders then visited the famous Akshardhma temple on the banks of the River Yamuna, where they posed with garlands.
Australia wants India to open up its agricultural markets – a serious sticking point given the subcontinent has a long tradition of protectionism.
In return, India would like better access for its workers coming to Australia, such as concessions on 457 visas for temporary workers, which is also a troublesome area.
Nevertheless, trade is growing even in the absence of a formal agreement.
Two-way trade with India is now worth $19 billion and Mr Turnbull says this is a fraction of its potential.
The two leaders covered the full gamut of issues between the countries in their formal talks on Monday, including national security, counter-terrorism, education and energy, and signed six memorandums of understanding.
Mr Modi said India and Australia had made ‘great strides’ in the relationship in recent years.
‘In months and years ahead we only see promises and opportunities for our … two nations,’ he told reporters after the meeting.
While work on the two-country deal continues, both leaders will push for a conclusion to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a 16-country trade deal that involves the ASEAN nations, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.
The prime minister of Australia Malcom Turnbull and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, agreed to resume talks for the bilateral trade deal very soon.
Both sides will list what they want to see, which areas are close and where more work needs to be done.
But ahead of the meeting with Mr Modi, Mr Turnbull warned sealing the trade deal would be a long process and people had to be realistic about the timing.
Visiting Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Monday said his country will work more closely with India in order to secure stronger ties.
“Our ties are strong and will be stronger because of this visit,” Turnbull told the media after his ceremonial welcome at the Rashtrapti Bhawan.
“Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi is leading this most remarkable nation on an extraordinary journey of growth and development,” he said.
“The achievements of India are the admiration of the world,” Turnbull said, adding: “We in Australia look forward to working even more closely than we have done in the past.”
He arrived on Sunday evening on a four-day state visit to India.
“We are bound together to ties of history of values of people. We look forward, Prime Minister (Modi) and I, to making that even stronger in this visit,” Turnbull added.
Turnbull was received by Modi at Rastrapati Bhawan and was then accorded the ceremonial guard of honour in the forecourt of the presidential residence.
This is Turnbull’s first bilateral visit to India since he assumed office in September 2015.
His predecessor, Tony Abbott had visited India in September 2014 and this was followed by Modi’s visit to Australia in November that year.
Modi will hold a bilateral summit with Turnbull later in the day following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed.