New Delhi, June 4: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a virtual summit with his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison and spoke about ways to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations in the fields of  trade, healthcare and defence among others. In his opening remarks during first ever 'India-Australia Virtual Summit', Prime Minister Modi expressed condolences to the COVID-19 affected people in Australia on behalf of people of India.

During the address, Prime Minister Modi said India is committed to expand its relations with Australia on a wider and faster pace which is not only important for the two countries, but also for the Indo-Pacific region and the world. “This is perfect time to further strengthen relations between India & Australia. There are endless opportunities to strengthen our friendship, it also brings with it challenges to turn this potential into reality, how our relation becomes a factor of stability for the region”, PM Modi said. PM Narendra Modi Replies to Australian PM Scott Morrison, Says he is ‘Glad to Join’ the First India-Australia Summit.

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It is the first time that Modi held a bilateral virtual summit with a foreign leader. During the meet, PM Modi laughed as Australian PM Scott Morrison says,"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", Morrison said.

Australian PM Scott Morrison lauded India's leadership on taking Chair of WHO's executive board. "I commend India on its leadership on taking Chair of WHO's executive board. This is a very important time to be chairing that board & I have no doubt that India's leadership will be critical in dealing with difficult problems globally particularly in the health area", Morrison said.

During the meeting, the two leaders also exchanged some light moments, where Morrison said he wished he could meet Modi and share the samosas that he had made. "I wish I could be there for what has become the famous 'Modi hug' & share my samosas. Next time, it will have to be the Gujarati Khichdi. I will try that in the kitchen before next time we meet in person", Morrison said. Scott Morrison Makes Samosas And Mango Chutney at Home, Wants to Share 'ScoMosas' With PM Narendra Modi (Check Pics)

The ties between India and Australia was upgraded to a 'Strategic Partnership' level in 2009. Since then, both countries have expanded their cooperation in a range of key areas.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 04, 2020 12:16 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website