Indian PM Modi visits Papua New Guinea, Australia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited Papua New Guinea, after agreeing with other leaders of the Quad security framework to increase their cooperation with Pacific nations.

It is the first time an Indian prime minister has ever visited the country.

Modi and Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister James Marape co-hosted the Forum for the India-Pacific Islands Cooperation Summit in the capital Port Moresby on Monday.

Fourteen Pacific countries took part to discuss ways to foster regional cooperation. Modi pledged to be a reliable development partner to small island states.

He said that India supports a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific, adding that it respects the sovereignty and integrity of all countries.

Modi's remarks reflect his vision to make the voices of nations in the so-called Global South heard more powerfully on the international stage.

The Indian prime minister is now in Sydney, the final leg of his tour. He is scheduled to hold bilateral talks with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese on Wednesday.

Modi has reportedly said he wants closer bilateral defense and security ties with Australia, as China's influence in the region grows.

Albanese told parliament that his country will host naval exercises involving India, the US and Japan for the first time this year, in another sign of its deepening commitment to the Quad.