March 10 (UPI) — India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised to give special protection to Hindu temples there after a rash of attacks in January.
Speaking after a bilateral meeting between the two leaders in New Dehli, Modi said Albanese made the promise after they discussed a spate of attacks on Hindu temples in Melbourne that caught the attention of residents in India.
“It is unfortunate that over the last few weeks, we have been receiving regular news of attacks on temples in Australia,” said Modi, whose Bharatiya Janata Party is rooted in Hindu nationalism. “It is only natural that this kind of news is very worrying and distressing for everyone in India.
“I expressed these feelings and concerns to PM Albanese and he has assured me that the safety of the Indian community will be a special priority for him.’
Three Hindi temples had been defaced in January after demonstrations that supported the breakaway state of Khalistan, which lies in India and Pakistan, led by secessionist Sikhs there.
Albanese did not comment on the temple attacks during the briefing.
Modi and Albanese also talked about defense and security cooperation between India and Australia.
“I welcome significant and ambitious progress under the defense and security pillar of our relationship,” Albanese said.
“Prime Minister Modi and I are discussing an increasingly uncertain global security environment and committed to strengthening the Australia-India defense and security partnership to address shared challenges and work towards an open, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific.”