Anthony Albanese has confirmed he will be jetting off to the US next week but refused to say whether the visit with Joe Biden is to cement a nuclear submarine deal.
The Prime Minister is speculated to be travelling to San Diego, where he will link up with the US President and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reveal the submarine of choice under the AUKUS pact.
“I will be visiting the United States for a bilateral meeting with President Biden. I look forward to the continuing engagement that they have with the US administration,” he told reporters on the tarmac in Perth.
Mr Albanese will make the trip via India, where he will meet with leader Narendra Modi and seek to boost trade and education ties with the South Asian nation.
Asked whether a deeper relationship with China would help counter the country’s growing influence in the region, Mr Albanese said national security was key.
“The relationship with India is multifaceted. It is one of people to people relations, the growing diaspora that is there in Australia is an asset for Australia, but also those people to people links are so important,” he said.
“It is also about our trade and it is also about our security relationship and the operation Malabar will be hosted by Australia for the first time.”
It is the fourth time Mr Albanese has met with Mr Modi since he was elected last May.
But his trip marks the first visit to India by an Australian prime minister since 2017.
After arriving in Gujarat on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Albanese will participate in the Hindu festival of Holi – marking the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil – before attending an event to showcase the co-operation between Australia and India on higher education.
Mr Albanese and Mr Modi will also attend the fourth Test between India and Australia at the stadium named after the Indian leader.
A massive billboard to promote the visit, with the caption “75 years of friendship through cricket” was unveiled ahead of the Test.
The Narendra Modi Stadium holds up to 132,000 people and was previously host to a rally between Mr Modi and then US President Donald Trump prior to the pandemic.
Australia has already surrendered the Border-Gavaskar Trophy but is aiming to level the series at 2-2.