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Modi-Albanese bonhomie over cricket and business

Ahmedabad: The city is expected to come to a virtual standstill as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese bond over cricket on Thursday.

The two premiers, on a two-day visit to Gujarat, will watch the first session of the fourth cricket Test between India and Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium, touted to be the world’s largest cricket arena, here.

While Modi will arrive late in the evening on Wednesday, Albanese has already arrived in the city. Earlier in the day, he visited the Sabarmati Ashram, the residence of Mahatma Gandhi. He was accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel.

According to the official schedule, Albanese will attend a cultural event at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar as part of the Holi celebration.

On Wednesday, the Gujarat CM and other senior ministers of his cabinet visited the stadium to take stock of the security and other arrangements there.

Ahmedabad police have deployed more than 3,000 personnel at the stadium and surrounding areas anticipating a huge rush of fans to watch the match on Thursday.

Australia building ties with India

Albanese will be the first premier from Australia to visit India since 2017. “This will be my first visit to India as Prime Minister and I look forward to reinforcing the strong bond between our two countries. Our relationship with India is strong but it can be stronger. It is underpinned by our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which underscores a joint commitment to working together to enhance our defence, economic, and technological interests,” Albanese said in an official statement.

Albanese will be accompanied by Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell and Resources Minister Madeleine King. Minister Farrell and Minister King will also lead a delegation of senior Australian business leaders on this visit.

The business delegation will participate in the Australia-India CEO Forum in Mumbai, discussing trade and investment opportunities opened up by the recent Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement and future areas of business-to-business collaboration with their Indian counterparts.