Australian Prime Minister Antony Albanese and his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, have pledged to take relations between their countries to “greater heights”, signing new agreements on migration and green hydrogen, as Canberra seeks to boost trade and diplomatic ties with New Delhi in an effort to counter China.

The signing of the trade deals on Wednesday came hours after Albanese offered Modi a rock star’s welcome in one of Sydney’s biggest sporting arenas while sidestepping questions from the media about the Indian leader’s human rights record, including allegations of crackdowns on dissidents and the country’s minority Muslim community.