On Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a press release announcing a virtual bilateral summit between Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the former's visit to India could not take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the summit on Thursday, Morrison hailed PM Modi as a visionary leader and lauded him for playing a “constructive and very positive role in these very difficult times”. He thanked his Indian counterpart for extending an invite for the virtual bilateral meet and said PM Modi’s leadership is laudable not just within India but “broadly throughout G20 and the Indo-Pacific”.
“This is a very important time to be chairing that board and I have no doubt that India’s leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area,” he said.
Morrison said that his government is committed to an open, inclusive, and prosperous Indo-Pacific and “India’s role in that region, our region will be critical in the years ahead”. “It doesn’t surprise me, this is how (virtually) we’d continue to meet in these circumstances. You are the one who started hologram in your campaigning many years ago, maybe next time we can have a hologram of you here,” the Australian PM said.
In their interaction, the two leaders talked about the measures taken by the Indian government to combat the coronavirus crisis and PM Modi said that the many steps taken during this pandemic have been taken to view this crisis as an opportunity.
PM Modi also thanked the Australian PM for looking after the Indian community and students during these trying times and said this time is perfect to further strengthen relations between India and Australia.