Sydney: Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is set to visit India "in just a few weeks' time."

PM Albanese announced last year that he will visit India in March 2023 to lock India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) deal and upgrade the relationship.

In a bilateral meeting with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, where PM Albanese discussed Australia's relationship with India, he said, "Minister, can I welcome you, very much, back to Australia. You're a regular visitor here. And I, of course, am looking forward to being in India in just a few weeks' time now for the bilateral visit. And I thank Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi for the invitation."

Albanese is set to arrive in India this March to lock the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) deal and upgrade the relationship between the two countries.

The two sides will carry out discussions on a variety of issues like clean energy, tech, digital trade and procurements.

Speaking about the Quad Leaders meeting which will be hosted in the first half of this year, Albanese said, "And then, of course, I will welcome the Quad Leaders meeting, including Prime Minister Modi, that we will be hosting here in just a short period of time in the first half of the year."

The Australian PM also talked about another visit for the G20 in the second half of this year.

"And then, of course, there will be another visit for the G20 in the year's second half. And I know that my Treasurer is there, I think, next week for a series of meetings that will be hosted in India for the G20. It will be an important period," said Albanese.

He also reiterated that the Australia-India relationship "goes from strength to strength" and highlighted that "economic relationship is important."

"Our relationship goes from strength to strength. I've already had a number of meetings with your Prime Minister. And our economic relationship is important. I think we have complementary economies," said Albanese.

The India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) entered force on December 29, 2022. Under the pact, Australia is offering zero-duty access to India for about 96.4 per cent of exports (by value) from the day the agreement is enforced.

India will benefit from preferential market access provided by Australia on 100 per cent of its tariff lines, including all the labour-intensive sectors of export interest to India, such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, and agricultural products, engineering products, medical devices and automobiles.

On the other hand, India will be offering preferential access to Australia on over 70 per cent of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to Australia, which are primarily raw materials and intermediaries such as coal, mineral ores and wines.

The Australian PM also underscored the importance of defence partnership with India.

"I look forward to strengthening that as well, as well as on security issues. Operation Malabar, of course, will occur in the coming period, which we are hosting. We have much to talk about today," added Albanese.

Malabar, which began as a bilateral exercise, is now one of the cornerstones of military interoperability of the Quad forces.

The Exercise Malabar is a Naval Exercise between India's, the United States, and Japan's navies. In recent years, Australia has also participated in the exercise, dubbed the 'Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD).'

The exercise takes place in the Indian Ocean. Depending on the complexity and missions involved, the exercise lasts anywhere from 6 to 14 sea days.